Jessica is a dear friend of ours that is one of our tribe. You’ll see her on here sporadically as a contributor, and we’re thrilled to have her! Check out this amazing summer post featuring her furry friends 🙂 – dd
Winter is here and while I’m absolutely enjoying all the white stuff (snowshoeing and I want to try fat tire biking soon), I am planning next year’s hiking adventures and thinking back to the summer. This was one of my favorite hikes this summer….unplanned yet planned, and challenging!
My husband and I are always up for an adventure. When the fourth of July rolled around, we found ourselves with no plans, which is a rarity and pretty much unheard of for us! The weather was gorgeous and we knew that it would lend itself to some amazing hiking. We did some research the night before and found a hike in a state park we’ve never been to. We always start with Maine Trail Finder (mainetrailfinder.com) because it is so easy to use, and then double check the trail’s information on All Trails (alltrails.com). On Maine Trail Finder, you can narrow down the trails in this enormous state by county or can find what’s near you. They make life way too easy.
Even though we were just going for the day, we packed TONS of water (super hot that day) and gathered our pups with great spirits and excitement. We live in central Maine and it took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Mount Blue State Park in Weld, Maine. Along the way, we stopped at a small general store for Italian sandwiches and snacks. Oh, side note, this small general store also put a rock in their driveway, which we backed into. Don’t do this. Just some advice. Good thing we can pretty much laugh off everything and there was no damage.
Our sidekicks, Copley, a 90-pound German Shepherd and lab mix, and Bumble, a 70-pound border collie and Great Pyrenees mix, were more than ecstatic to “go for a ride.” Copley is a seasoned hiker and knows all his limits, but he is like an agile little puppy-monkey when we get him out on hikes and can tackle any terrain. This was Bumble’s first hike, his puppy energy certainly came in handy to help pull me up to the summit! Because it was a smaller hike, we decided against the dogs “packbacks,” but do wish we had brought them so they could have carried their own water!
The hike was amazing. This was only my second time out in 2016, my first was a small hike in Bethel, Maine, around Memorial Day. Looking back, Mount Blue is no joke. It will test you at every turn and I’m so proud that we made it up! Proud of my dogs, too!
The trailhead is a bit out of the way, in fact, as we were driving along the windy dirt road, we felt like we had taken a wrong turn somewhere. But we hadn’t and found the eight to ten space parking lot at the end of the dead end road we were on.
There is an abandoned fire warden’s cabin tucked into the woods to the left-hand side of the trail as you’re headed to the summit. We explored around a bit (didn’t go in…the floors didn’t look very stable) and found a small stream behind the cabin. The dogs splashed around a bit and got bored, so we headed back onto the trail. There were only a few other families, couples, and dogs that we met along the way. We expected much more foot traffic but were pleasantly surprised!
There are a couple of spots to take in the amazing views of the Weld area. We summited and there were people up there, so we decided to head back down to a small outlook that we found. It was extremely windy but felt nice with the blazing sun that was beating down on us as we ate lunch.
After lunch, we headed back up to the summit and climbed the fire tower for some breathtaking 360-degree views. The sky was so clear and blue. You could see for miles upon miles. It was very windy, so you’ll definitely want to pack layers. The trek down was just as challenging as it was going up. Be sure that you have plenty of toe room in your boots because you’ll need it! We, being Mainers, have L.L. Bean hiking boots and love them. My husband loves our North Face daypack for smaller hikes, I had my Cotopaxi Luxon 18L daypack that I got from my Cairn box, and it was perfect.
This hike was a constant climb upwards with scrambles in some parts. The dogs bounded up with ease, me….I had to take a few breaks but mustered up the determination and made it! In total, the hike was three miles in and out, and took us around four hours to complete (with breaks, lunch and climbing around on the fire tower).
Date/start & finish time July 4, 2016 – 4 hours round trip
Trail Route: Mount Blue, Mount Blue State Park, Weld, Maine
What was the vibe? Describe it in a few words Backwoods Maine. Comfortable but you know you’re in the wilderness. No cell reception.
Any recommended break spots Abandoned fire warden’s cabin.
Any recommended view spots? Just before the summit to the right, there is a hidden spot to have lunch.
A particular quote that comes to mind? If you give up, it means you never wanted it.
Total miles round trip 3.2
Your rating – easy/beginner, moderate/experienced, difficult/expert moderate/experienced