ORLAND – Each year, the first Saturday in June is National Trails Day, when thousands of outdoor clubs and land trusts celebrate the joys of hiking. I am a volunteer trail builder with Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust and a trip leader for the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club. Jennifer Reifler is also a volunteer with GPMCT and together we planned a hike up Great Pond Mountain in Orland for June 5, this year’s Trail Day.
The day started off rainy and the mountain was socked in with fog, so we shifted our plans to hiking the trails of nearby Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. When our meeting time arrived the rain had stopped, and we were joined by Chris Dalton, Jim Wade, Judy Hilton and Jennifer’s son Eric. We started up the Brook Trail, then followed the Nature Trail loop along Craig Brook. The brook has carved a dramatic gorge through the crumbly granite, with enough coarse chunks in the stream bed to absorb all the water, leaving only a dry channel visible. Near the head of the gorge, a piece of more solid ledge brought the water to the surface, and the water tumbled over the edge and into a pool below.
We left following the Mossy Rock trail, turned onto a side path, then followed logging roads in an impromptu exploration of Atkins Hill. As we passed through a recently logged area we saw young white birches standing above a sea of succulent green ferns. We found our way out to Don Fish Road, then took the Tall Pines Trail for the half mile walk to the beach on Alamoosook Lake. At the lake we sat on a rock and chatted, looked out over the calm water and watched a pair of loons moving slowly about. From there it was just a short jaunt back to the hatchery where we had parked, and we said our goodbyes.
With a lake and a pond for swimming and paddling and miles of trails on 135 acres of land, the hatchery property is a resource worth celebrating on National Trails Day, or any day.
To learn about future hiking and paddling trips visit www.moac.org
The Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust’s web site is www.greatpondtrust.org
The hatchery’s history is described here: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/mainefisheries/history.html
Contact Name: Scott Bennett
Telephone Number: 2078254709