Sunday I convinced Mrs. Loaf and one of the kids to come along for a hike up Ragged Mtn. in Camden ME, home of the Camden Snow Bowl. The dog didn't need convincing. They even humored my propensity to keep the Maine Gazetteer handy en route; we traversed such Maine metropolises as Appleton and Searsmont. Like Vermont, only the the hills are plopped in a more eclectic pattern with little lakes here and there.
On arrival we found a family reunion, or some such, in full bash-regalia at the base lodge. Matching T-shirts! It was group photo time! Mrs. L. and daughter were pleased that this allowed access to real plumbing in the lodge. The dog and I were more interested in the ducks on Hosner Pond. The Town of Camden has a real nice rec. area there. One guy on the tennis courts was working on a wicked sunburn.
The ascent up the Sno-Bowl trails was highlighted by the best wild strawberry pickin' that this reporter has ever seen. I actually ate my fill of wild strawberries.
Start right of the lodge and follow the ATV tracks to the top of the chairlift. Be sure to go left at the top of the chair for the Penobscot Bay view and instant Atlantic air conditioning. There's a nice AMC-style lean-to right there; I couldn't convince Mrs. L. that we should bring our sleeping bags and check out a sunrise sometime.
The ski trail continues up from the lean-to to the top of the T-bar, and then another quarter mile on the ATV/microwave trail to the summit. Great view of the bay; hook around the tower and there's a truly alpine ravine to the N and a great view toward the Longfellows and a couple nice ponds at your feet to the W. Saw one eagle and a couple crows (ravens?) riding the updraft. My 10x telescope made it fun to spy on sailboats.
The last time I hiked this hill, I followed a footpath down that took me way to the S, and I ended up having to cut across-lots above all of Hosner Pond, a 2-mile detour. This time I had a little trouble finding the trail off the summit. I ended up on the ledges that become the "Snowfields" down at chairlift level. Be sure to keep to the left on descent. Don't miss the ski trails.
This is highly recommended for anybody travelling the Maine coast. It's about 3 miles from Rte. 1/ Camden, and the difference between this and what you can drive up (Mt. Beattie near Camden, Cadillac Mtn. in Acadia) is far fewer people for a similar view. Two other folks came up Ragged by another route just as we were leaving. Otherwise we had it to ouselves.
We also went over to check out the toboggan chute. They've added a plastic, brush-type base to the starting area since the last time I was there. There was also a doumentary report in Magic Marker on the wall of the starting shed reporting that the new starting area, and that the National Toboggan Championships, were a big sucess in 2005. Whoop-whoop!
Actual hike is about a mile each way, with a 1000' elevation gain.
Other "don't miss" spots on the Maine coast are the DeLorme facility in Yarmouth, opposite the State rest area, with nicer johns and the world's biggest globe (no foolin'--and it rotates!), and to get off Rte 1 and take Rte 52 from Camden to Belfast--you'll think you're in a Norweigian fjoird for about 3 miles. And the rest real is nice too.
Camden Snow Bowl is a nice little place to ski, and the views of the bay from the summit are fantastic. I skied there in February 2005, and
my family and I enjoyed the drive up along the coast from Portland to Belfast. We later went inland to Black Mountain and on to Sugarloaf for 10 days.
The big powder dump on February 10-11th made for a great time at the loaf