Saturday, October 4, 2008

Help!! They're Driving me Battie!!

Mount Battie that is!
October 4, 2008 - Camden Hills State Park

Finally a sunny day for visiting Mt. Battie! OnTheCorner and Agent S. took Zamboni and James Bone hiking in Camden - searching for letterboxes called "The Maiden Cliff Series" - three maidens hidden along the maiden cliff trail, which is about a 2.5mile roundtrip up an 800 foot cliff.

Driving from Glenburn to Camden we stopped in Bucksport at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge - a fairly new tourist attraction with an observation deck at the top of that funny looking bridge tower ... there is a letterbox here somewhere, but we didn't investigate it's directions well enough and wanted to avoid entering the park itself (since some enterprising people decided that the observation deck tickets and tickets to fort knox have to be bought together, and that is a whole day worth of searching in itself!)

Onward to Camden ... why was I letting OnTheCorner navigate?? here's a summary:
OTC: We have to take route 52, then look for a sign with a little hiker man
Agent S: ... ok, there's junction 52 ... should i turn left
OTC: ...But we have to drive through town more
Agent S: Ummm. ok (guess there's food more likely that way)
---After lunch---
OTC: So we've backtracked to route 52
Agent S: Yup
ATC: Oh! there's a sign with a little hiker, and lots of people parked, and a trail!
---started down the trail, Agent S. now reading the clue for the first time,
"Park in the lot near the public boat launch"
Agent S: I didn't see any public boat launch! How are we lost already!
OTC: Well you know better than to let me navigate! This is why I drive and you point which way to go!!

... So after driving further down route 52 to the right trail, we set off on our hike for real ! (Picture above is the "we are here ... not here" map reading explanation)

First encountered funky hobbit-hole tree ... posed in it despite the obvious danger of bugs and creepy crawlies! And OnTheCorner attempts to dislodge a glacial boulder.

Then! Maiden number one is reached ... but the trail is quite busy with hikers and well ... we are pathetic at reading compasses, so we decided to skip that one and come back! So on to Maiden number 2: The Lonely Maiden. She is hidden near a 'glacial erratic' (another large boulder, left behind by a glacier)

James Bone went off to investigate this glacial erratic while Zamboni and I stamped the log book. Looks like he found a mini-cave!

Further hiking up the mountainy terrain (pondering why I didn't read the clues in advance to realize this box wasn't on the mountain you can drive up! Ooops! Note to self: proper foot ware and hiking backpack instead of purse next time) ... and eventually we come to the summit of Maiden's Cliff. Here the clue says to read about the fate of Eleanora French at the cross erected in her memory (a 12 yr old farmer's daughter who was chasing her wind-blown hat during a Maying parting and fell from the cliff to her death in 1864) ... and then to climb down to the shelf below the cross (in the second picture you can see where the guidewire is anchored on this shelf) and the "Beautiful Maiden" is hidden at 65 degrees along the ledge. The mommy was obviously nervous at this and refused to climb down (and I didn't read that plaque to her until after coming back up for the second time!)
Don't worry, Zamboni and James Bone stayed up with the mommy!
Here is the stamp - absolutely worth climbing over a cliff for! Also referred to as "Flowery Maiden" in the logbook itself - you can certainly see why this is a blue diamond letterbox!

James Bone encountered several friends along the way - this adorable pup at the summit, and a bigger version of him, as well as a very friendly, very wet black lab who'd been swimming in the creek (but still thought he needed petting by us!) and another dog who came over to investigate while we were stamping.

Some views from the top:
James Bone - intrepid conqueror of mountains

Zamboni - heffalump has perhaps forgiven me for dropping him on his head earlier.
Back down the mountain via the Scenic Route ... wait! this is taking us up again! (circles around the summit before rejoining the Maiden Cliff trail). Back to the bridge where the Joyous Maiden is hidden, and late enough in the day that it isn't grand central station - successfully read the compass to find twin trunked hemlocks at 160 degrees growing out of rock - and the third/final stamp!!

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