Hiking | Travel | Walking

Packing a Winter Day in Maine

Some days nothing much happens. That line a day summary looks very long when you sat in your house all day. Other days you jamb ridiculous amount of activities in a relatively short number of hours. Those days you flop down on the chair, exhale and assess. And that’s where I find myself today.

The morning started with a snow squall and limited visibility that bordered on return home and wait it out intensity. But the radar showed it tracking away from where we were heading, so we pressed on. Sure enough, the snow soon disappeared and we settled into a normal early morning drive. Destination? Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine.

Sunrise on this mountain top has been covered here before, I know. But we were heading to Maine anyway, so a quick hike up an old mountain for sunrise seemed like a good idea. And really, outside of the biting wind chill at the summit it wasn’t a bad way to subtract an hour of sleep from your morning.

Next stop was breakfast at a family restaurant called Lucky Loggers in a Saco, Maine strip mall. This is the kind of place that Google searches are made for, and with 4 1/2 stars it was a no-brainer for a half dozen frozen early risers. Mission accomplished: they thawed out the group, filled our tanks full of goodness and bolstered the spirit for the next highlight in a packed morning: waterfalls.

Hidden away amongst the touristy businesses lining the roads in Saco is a small parking lot in a stand of hemlock trees. This is the parking lot for Cascade Falls, a 20 foot wonder wedged in between granite and forest. There’s a sign that says this particular spot doubled as the Yukon in a 1930’s silent movie. It’s a lovely spot, even with large fallen trees partially obscuring the falls. On a cold January morning, ice lined the edges of the falls and the brook downstream. If you didn’t know you were in Saco you’d think you were deep in the White Mountains.

After Cascade Falls, we drove up to Portland to see Jewell Falls in the Fore River Sanctuary. As advertised, it sits right in the middle of the city, and is a pretty little waterfall that must be really impressive when the water is running high. I’m grateful for resources like New England Waterfalls for pointing out this little gem I’d never have found on my own. For all the trips I’ve taken to Portland, I’d never known about Jewell Falls. Waterfall number two in the books, we turned westward for our third and final waterfall of the morning.

Jewell Falls

Waiting behind door number three this morning was Steep Falls in Standish, Maine. This was the toughest of the three to find, but featured the powerful waters of the Saco River dropping six feet into a churning pool on its way to the sea. This is where a resource like New England Waterfalls really becomes invaluable. Without it I’d never have seen this place in my lifetime. Even with the book it took a few minutes to figure out where the falls actually were. But upon arrival, we were all thrilled with the performance.

Steep Falls, Saco River

So there we are, three waterfalls in a small triangle in coastal Maine. We happened to do them in the order they were listed in the book, but that was coincidence. Having visited a number of waterfalls from the book before and since purchasing it, I can confirm the value of the book and recommend picking it up if you want to start your own New England waterfall adventure.

So how do you cap a morning like that? With a beer with friends followed by a visit with a new puppy in the extended family. Driving back home we saw the sun setting over the Merrimack River and realized it was a very long day indeed. But so full of small adventures and memories. Another day in New England winter, but packed with more than the average.

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