Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in New England (77,000 acres) & is the gateway to the North Maine Woods. Feel free to translate that as ever more remote & forget about using your phone. Seriously, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful section of Maine. It is off the casual tourist trail but attracts people interested in outdoor adventures – year-round.
Camping in Lily Bay State Park is awesome. We have a lake side spot & a rocky beach right by our door. Several areas near the park are known for moose viewing. We did the loop at the appropriate time (dusk) but no moose showed! It was an opportunity to explore more dirt roads off the beaten path. Just a few miles north of Kokadjo, (a moose spot) paved roads vanish & the region is crisscrossed by dirt roads maintained by the logging companies. Edward thought it would be fun to go to Baxter State Park but was discouraged after seeing the roads & learning it would take 2 hours to travel the 40 miles.
The 700 ft sheer cliffs of Mt Kineo offer dramatic views of Moosehead Lake & one crazy guide book listed the hike as very easy, great for kids & pets. You’d think we’d learn. Mt Kineo rises out of Moosehead Lake so we took the boat shuttle over to the Country Club. Yes, that’s right, a golf course! It reminded us of the golfing scenes in “Lost”. There were two trails to the top so we choose the easier one. Thank goodness; it was tough going, a very steep & rocky mile to connect with another trail to the summit. The spectacular views from the summit were accessible only after climbing a five-story observation tower. I made it half way up before the panic set in & carefully backed myself down. Edward made it to the top & got some great shots.
Despite the tough trail, it was a great day. The weather was warm & sunny & we met a fun couple that lives in a yurt by the lake! Russ had once owned a house on the island & was filled with fun factoids. The school parking lot frequently has 100 snow mobiles in the winter; the kids’ favorite method of transportation! The Rockwood elementary school shut down a few years back when attendance dropped to 3 students. This huge lake freezes over – 6 feet of ice! The residents of Kineo Island then ski or snow mobile to the mainland. Russ was at home on Mt Kineo! After I lamented about not seeing the views, he said “come on, I’ll show you a spot with views”. Off we went & he disappeared into the brush, saying “there used to be a trail here” & Paula echoing our sentiment “Russ, wait up. Where are you?” Our scramble through the yews & brambles was rewarded with stunning views of the island & the lake. They invited us to their yurt but we couldn’t follow his directions once back in the truck. We were sorry not to meet up with them again.
Rangeley Lake State Park is our next destination before heading south to Pennsylvania. Hard to believe we only have three more days in Maine! We will return next summer!