Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Monday, September 10, 2018

Little Moose Mountain

One of our family's favorite local hikes is the trail from the trailhead on Maine Route 15 just north of Greenville up the east side of Little Moose Mountain (formerly and still locally known as Little Squaw). There's a new trailhead on a short gravel road off Route 15 close to Greenville Junction. There's the trailhead at the Moose Mountain Inn, formerly the Greenwood Motel. There's a third trailhead that accesses the back side of the mountain as well as Big and Little Moose Ponds.
My wife had the day off today so we ventured up the east side of the mountain from the new trailhead. Once before this summer I had walked the new section of trail but this was the first time she had tried it. Back when our kids were young, oh maybe thirty years ago or so, we used to frequent this trail, which is only itself about thirty years old, from the Greenwood Motel trailhead. It's not a steep climb for the most part but it's a rugged though well-maintained rustic trail, a hiking trail in the Maine tradition.

What makes this trail special for me is that way back when the trail was first laid out I did some exploring and I found my way to the ledge near the top of the mountain that is clearly seen from Greenville. The trail passes the base of this ledge but for some odd reason just keeps on going with no side trail covering the hundred yards or so of bushwhacking needed to get to the lookout. From this lookout there is a panoramic view from Little and Big Spencer Mountains to the northeast sweeping down Moosehead Lake and the mountains to the east and on south past Greenville to Boarstone Mountain to the southeast, continuing on along the mountain-free horizon to the south. Straight east from the mountain at this lookout is Pritham Avenue and the entire town of Greenville with Greenville Junction only a mile and a half distant. Perched up here you can watch and even hear the traffic from Greenville to Greenville Junction while witnessing a view that almost nobody else even knows about, let alone gets to see. It's my kind of place.

I'll tell you my secret way to get there.

After beating yourself half to death hiking the trail along the long ridgeline from the highway, you come to an abrupt drop in the trail followed by a short level area with tons of moss off to your left and then up a steep section of trail with a very steep ledge outcropping of rock on your right. The overlook is directly above you at this point but don't be tempted to go straight up to it. Stay on the trail until it levels out again. Just as the trail levels out it passes between two fairly young white birch trees. You can think of those two trees as your secret marker, the point where your bushwhacking begins.
Leaving the trail, double back to your right but continue uphill. Avoid the steep uphill section to your left and the steep downhill section to your right. Unfortunately there are two large softwood blow-downs smack dab in the middle of the easiest route. Today we went up by going to the right around the tops but came back down around the stumps so either path past these blowdowns works. Continue up the short uphill grade beyond these blowdowns until the terrain levels off. It's all woods up here so you won't see any views until you find the lookout. No more than a hundred feet past this point, probably more like fifty to seventy five feet, see if you can wind your way downward to your right through a mess of small blowdowns and voila! There you are! There's the lookout. But it is one of those you can't see it till you're right there places so be prepared to do a little searching.
To stay oriented remember one thing. This overlook is directly above where you just were when you were back on the trail when this ledge was directly above your right shoulder. In fact - and don't do this! - if you tossed something off this lookout it would land in the trail fifty or so feet below you.

By the way, I find it mesmerizing on a calm day to sit on this lookout and watch the traffic and boats and airplanes come and go.
But don't throw any rocks, OK? I might be on the trail below you!


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