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Friday, June 6, 2014

Best kept secret around Moosehead Lake




Every area has those places only the locals know about. If you’re lucky enough to be considered a local around Moosehead Lake, you have at least heard of Eagle Rock. I’ve discovered lately, that the secret is slowly sneaking out. Small town mentality says this is a bad thing, but I struggle with that. For me, when I discover something new and amazing, I want to scream it to the world! Whether it be a musical genius I have stumbled upon while listening to Pandora, an amazing new book I picked up at the local library, or an eatery that has just opened up, I want everyone to experience the feeling that went along with the experience. I mean, imagine the euphoria you would miss out on if anytime your friends heard an amazing new tune, they hid it from you as if it were a dead body. Beyond that, why not give our visitor’s one more reason to come back to the area? I will tell you that this hike is almost always my first hike of the season. It’s a view my body craves, more than it craves chocolate. That’s a big deal; I am a woman, after all. Why would it be any different for our visitors? It’s one more reason to visit and help stimulate the economy in our region, which thrives on tourism almost solely. For all of you locals throwing your fists in the area at me right now, let’s agree to disagree. Life is all about your experiences, and I just find it greedy to feel the need to keep these experiences to ourselves, so get used to throwing your fists in the air at me my local friends, because I’m a sharer, unless it’s my favorite fishing hole, you can’t have my brookies!


As I said, Eagle Rock is almost always my first hike of the season, and this year was no exception. A friend was going to tag along, but ended up going to work instead. Oh to be an adult, maybe someday I’ll get there. So I set out around 10:30 in the morning, water, granola, a compass, my phone, some bug dope, and some first aid gear in my pack, and a big smile on my face was all that was required for this quick 3-mile round trip hike. With fire in my belly, I jumped into my car and sped out toward solitude.
The Eagle Rock trailhead is by no means far from the town of Greenville, but it is very easy to miss, if you’re not paying close attention. To get there, leave Greenville as if you are headed to Rockwood. After the sign for Squaw Mountain, there is a blue sign for a boat landing, on the left. After that sign, you will see a couple of small, sort of over grown roads, keep on trekking. Beyond those few roads, there is a road called the Burnham Pond Road. Unfortunately, there is not a road sign there, so the name of this road is about as insignificant as you feel, in a cosmic sense, as you reach the highest peek of Eagle rock. There is, however, a sign for Plum Creek, stating that they own the land. It is a large, white sign, so it’s kind of hard to miss. Once you turn left, you are going to travel for approximately 3 and a half miles, and you will find the road kind of veers to the left, or you can turn right. Hang left, and travel a little under a mile and a half, and you’re there! You will see a very small, white sign that says “Eagle Rock Trailhead”. There isn’t a parking lot, just scoot over to the side of the road as much as possible. I promise, there isn’t a whole lot of traffic out this way!

The canopy of trees served as great shading from the sun, though bug dope is a requirement this time of year in the Moosehead Lake Region, unless you want to lose a pint or two of blood while foregoing this adventure.  The hike starts out with fairly flat ground, this time of year the trail is also accompanied by a bit of a muddy mess, but stopping for a good ol’ fashioned mud wrestling session should never be out of the question. The trail quickly becomes steep, and heavily wooded, but the trail is very well marked. Though the trail is steep at times, don’t let this discourage you from giving this hike a go. First of all, it is only a three-mile hike, round trip. Secondly, there are quite a few switchbacks on the trail, which give you a minute to rest your burning calves. Thirdly, the view at the top of Eagle Rock is worth an entire day of rock climbing, which you won’t experience here, so even if you feel as though you aren’t in the best of shape, rest assured that you can do it! Sorry, I got a little motivational speaker on you for a minute, I just don’t want anyone to be discouraged from giving this their best shot.
As I ascended to the top of Eagle Rock, my breath, as always, was taken away. Leading out to the highest peak, it truly looks like the rock just suddenly drops off. It’s an amazing, humbling experience, and for me, is overwhelming. As soon as I got to the top this time around, the sky just opened up, and it started to rain. Though this didn’t take away from my view, it did make the rock incredibly slippery. I sat at the highest peek for only a short time unfortunately, because I could tell the rock was quickly becoming a massive slip and slide. Most days, I probably would have said “hey, let’s give it a go” but I was by myself. Though I’ve always wanted to write a book, something similar to “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” is not something I’ve had in mind, so I took in the view for a brief ten minutes or so, and began my descend down the rock. I did treat it much like a slip and slide, scooting down on my rear, as I felt this was a bit safer .The rest of the trek down was easy, as the canopy of trees I mentioned earlier served the purpose of an umbrella, as opposed to natural sunblock, on my way down. The rain I encountered will just further serve as reasoning for trekking up Eagle Rock at least one more time before our hiking season comes to a close.
I will tell you all that, though hiking is my absolute favorite activity in the region, I will have to sit it out for a couple of weeks. I unfortunately sprained my ankle on Tuesday. No, no… I wasn’t sprinting up Burnt Jacket Mountain when it happened, which I did hike that morning, but instead, I was sprinting into my daughter’s pre school to pick her up. Because I had just come off the mountain, I was feeling extra Michael Johnson, and jumped out, sprinting! As I rounded the corner onto the walkway, I caught my foot on the lip and BAM! I went down. I honestly thought I broke my ankle, because the sound that accompanied the immediate pain was similar to the sound of tree branches snapping. After a quick trip to the emergency room, it was determined that I had sprained my ankle. Though I’m frustrated, because our summers here are too short, I’m trying to stay optimistic about the whole ordeal. I have awesome friends, who are helping me so I can rest it as much as possible, as well as amazing friends who remind me that it could be a whole lot worse.


Until next time, I hope I have swayed at least one of you to venture up to Eagle Rock, there will be no disappointment involved.


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