Hiking in Maine: A Wealth of Beauty, Just Over the Border – Press Herald | Gmx Pharm

A hiker on the steep cliffs on Bald Ledge overlooking Colcord Pond in Porter, Maine. Carey Kish photo

Mount Foss is a local gem, one of those special places you either know or you don’t. Bald Peak in Eaton, New Hampshire, 3 miles west of the Maine state line, is accessible via a half-mile winding trail. Protected by the Eaton Conservation Commission, the wide, open 1,654-foot summit of granite boulders and low bush blueberries offers one of the most beautiful panoramas for the effort in all of New England.

Take the 20-minute hike and then enjoy the magnificent views that stretch on the New Hampshire side from the Ossipee Mountains to the Franconia Range to Mount Washington and more. Above the Maine state line you can see from the Mahoosuc Range to Speckled Mountain to Pleasant Mountain to name a few. The amount of public and private nature reserves and miles of hiking trails within sight of your breezy hide is simply amazing.

Closer to the west are the ski slopes of King Pine, whose lifts stand still in the summer greenery, and just to the south, hidden by a low ridge, are Purity Lake and Purity Spring Resort. Family owned and operated by the Hoyts, the resort has been accommodating weary travelers for 111 years. This beautiful site offers a variety of cabins, cottages and rooms and makes a great base camp for hiking and other outdoor activities in the border region.

The 1,300-acre Purity Spring Resort is built around Purity Lake, 100 acres of clear, clean mountain water so good it was once bottled and sold. Spend a little time in this relaxed, friendly spot and you’ll get a good feel for the resort’s motto: “Lake life as it should be.” There’s a sandy beach and a good selection of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards that you can explore. There are also hiking and mountain bike trails.

Adjacent to the resort is the Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary, which encompasses about half of the lake’s southeast shoreline. The 135-acre preserve was donated to New Hampshire Audubon by the Hoyt family in the 1950s. A network of four paths leads through tall pines over a lakeside esker to a Kesselloch pond, a beaver bog and the remains of the former Durgin homestead. It is a pleasant walk that can be enjoyed for several hours.

Purity Spring’s Lodge serves plenty of hearty food and drink, but if you’re there on a Thursday night, be sure to attend the big lobster bake at Purity Island just above the old dam, mill, and spring house. The festive event draws hungry guests from far and wide, many in traditional Purity Spring summer attire: tie-dye T-shirts.

There is so much to see and do in this area that after Foss Mountain you will naturally want to explore the stunning Madison Boulder, the largest known boulder in North America. This gigantic rock is 23 feet high, 85 feet long and is estimated to weigh nearly 6,000 tons. Walk around him for the full “wow” effect.

At the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, 6 miles of hiking trails start from the Nature Learning Center. Hike the 301 acres to see pretty Chase Pond, wetlands, cliffs and outcrops, pine forests, a quarry and a remarkable mountain laurel garden. The center has been dedicated to environmental education and land management since its inception in 1980.

Green Mountain rises prominently from the Ossipee River valley in Effingham, just west of the Maine state line at Parsonsfield. The mountain is part of the 2,171-acre High Watch Preserve, a corporation dedicated to the protection of New Hampshire’s forests. Hike the High Watch Trail to the 1,883-foot summit and one of only 15 fire towers left in the Granite State.

On the other side of Pine Tree State, Peary Mountain offers views from Mount Washington to Pleasant Mountain, while the rocky ridgeline of Burnt Meadow Mountain overlooks the Saco River valley. both peaks are in brownfield. Climb the Bald Ledge in Porter for fabulous clifftop views of Colcord Pond and the Ossipee River valley.

If camping is more your thing on your frontier adventure, Purity Springs also operates the Danforth Bay RV Resort at nearby Freedom, complete with all the campground amenities plus a large pool and lakefront beach.

Mount Desert Island’s Carey Kish is an award-winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. His latest book, Beer Hiking New England, will be available early next spring. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish


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