As usual, it’s been way too long between posts….between other things taking priority over scootering, and the fact that the scooter trips we did take this spring were to places already described in this blog (Reid and Popham Beach State Parks, mostly), it’s been until mid-June that we were able to take a ride to someplace new and worth presenting here. And that place is Camden Hills State Park, on US1 just north of the harbor town of Camden.
Camden Hills State Park is mostly about hiking; there are several trails ascending both Mt. Battie and Mt. Megunticook (among others of the Camden Hills), and an avid hiker could certainly spend a long weekend here enjoying the climbs to scenic vistas overlooking Penobscot Bay. Combine that with the shopping in quaint downtown Camden, and the many opportunities for sea-going recreation (including kayaking, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, and windjammer cruises), and a person could easily spend an enjoyable week here.
The state park itself offers tent- and RV-camping in addition to the hiking trails, picnic sites and playground. Most of the park is on the west side of US1, and the main feature is the auto road up scenic Mt. Battie. At the summit of the “mountain” (really just a small hill of 780 feet) there is a very scenic tower to climb, giving outstanding views of Camden Harbor, Islesboro and the nearby islands of Penobscot Bay.
Here are some views of the tower itself, dedicated to those who served America in World War I:
More views of Camden Harbor from the top of the tower:
It seems that this was a favorite spot for American poetess Edna St. Vincent Millay, as evidenced by this tablet posted on the summit:
Most of Camden Hills State Park, including the mountain road and the campground, is on the west side of US1; however, there is a small parcel on the east side of the road, right on the ocean, which consists primarily of an oceanside walk with picnic tables. There was a sweet ’57 Oldsmobile convertible in the parking lot when we arrived:
Note that the “oceanside” walk is not precisely oceanside; rather, it traverses a bank high above the water, and only by scrambling down this steep bank can one access the ocean (I did not say “beach”, because there is no sand beach or swimming area here). Here are some views of this walking path:
Once down the steep bank, there is a pleasant scramble over the rocks at the shore if the tide is right.
We found that the boundary of the oceanside walk was not clearly marked; at the northern end it simply turned uphill to become an access path to an expensive private oceanfront home. Strangely, there were old, faded signs on this path cautioning to watch one’s step (such as you would expect to see in a state park), but the path ended on the lawn of this home. So, feeling like we were trespassing, we returned to the rocks at the ocean shore, walked south again for a ways, and then clambered back up the steep bank to the state park path once again.
Returning to Camden itself, we were delighted to see three windjammers berthed together in the harbor:
For us, not being as into hiking as we once were, the highlights of the day were the ride up Mt. Battie, the view from the tower, and the walk along the rocks at the shore. Moreover, we drove through the campground and found it to be adequate but not particularly scenic or attractive, and so not a place which would become a special destination for us. But it was certainly worth a day trip, and could be much more for anyone who wanted to hike and take advantage of all that mid-coast Maine can offer. Here’s a concluding view of part of downtown Camden with the Lord Camden Hotel all decked out in blue:
To anyone who follows this blog, thanks for waiting! And please look forward to upcoming posts from Prince Edward Island!