Now that we’ve been hiking a bit more regularly, we figured why not skip ahead to a more challenging destination. After a bit of research we decided to head to Douglas Mountain in Sebago. Why bother with all that pesky gradual increase in intensity from hike to hike. Let’s just jump right in. In fairness, it wasn’t that extreme a leap, it just felt like it on a few of the steeper inclines.
It was probably the first hike we have taken this spring that really did fall more into the hiking side of things rather than the walking one. There are a few trails that you can take to the summit but, not really knowing a lot about the options, we headed out on the first one we came to after parking in the lot, which was the Eagle Scout Trail.
This trail lures you into thinking it will be a casual stroll to the top. We started walking and the path was leisurely, even downhill in a couple of spots, before turning and suddenly displaying in front of us a more intimidating upward stretch with no visible end. As we progressed, we began to encounter more and more sections of increasingly steeper inclines. It was a strenuous but exhilarating hike although we had to make a few stops along the way so that my lungs could catch up to my legs.
The Eagle Scout Trail eventually connects up with the Nature Trail as you get closer to the top. About a half a mile from the summit, the trail split and we had to make a decision as to whether to go the shorter, and according to the sign, steeper path, or the longer one. We discussed which would be easiest. Quick sounded good, but steep sounded challenging. In the end, we picked the longer one. It was still pretty steep in places so not sure we made the right choice.
We also met a snake along the way made known to us by a sudden and unexpected movement of the leaves on the path ahead. After getting out of our way, the snake stayed motionless on the side of the trail with its head raised watching us. While I did take a picture, I wasn’t willing to get in close enough to the snake for that perfect shot. So, without knowing where to look, the picture appears to be of a random collection of sticks and leaves hidden in shadows.
I’ll follow the advice of the experts at Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and keep a “respectful distance” to all wildlife including snakes. While I’m not a personal fan of snakes, I recognize their role in our ecosystem. It also helps that there are no venomous ones in Maine.
After our snake encounter, it was back to the trail and onto the summit. We had a little trouble staying on the path and I felt like we’d missed the top and accidentally started heading down again. Even so, we kept forging forward and after going around another bend suddenly there immediately in front of us was the stone tower signifying the summit.
You can actually walk up to the top of the stone tower where you can see beautiful views of Sebago Lake. It was stunning but bring your bug spray. It felt like every mosquito in Maine was on this hike. Partly because of the time of year which was mid-May. While climbing, for the most part, you could ignore the mosquitoes but anytime you stopped, however briefly, the swarms circled around you. We had slathered on the bug spray so weren’t getting bitten, but it was still pretty disturbing.
At the top, the mosquitoes made stopping for any length of time unmanageable which was disappointing. It would have been nice to spend a little more time at the top enjoying our hiking victory and taking in the views. It also looks like this may be a destination to party as there were a lot of beer bottle remains and broken glass which made me a little sad.
For our hike down, we picked a different trail out. It wasn’t a calculated choice, it was a “we can’t stop to debate any longer because we’re covered in mosquitoes” decision. Did I mention to bring your bug spray?
This trail turned out to be much quicker although fairly steep so you had to watch your footing. We actually reached the access road in no time and had to walk along the pavement for a bit before returning to the parking lot where we had left our car. I’m glad we took the longer, more scenic hike up to the top but it was nice to get out quickly too. I’ve noticed a lot of reviews for hiking Douglas Mountain indicate it’s quick and easy. I believe this exit trail that we used would fall into that category, but the trail we took in I would say is more challenging.
Walking out a different way, also allowed us to see a few new things during our hike out including these old, abandoned cars in the woods near the entrance to the parking lot. Not really part of nature, although they are certainly become entangled in it.
A couple of parting thoughts…
There was a small area at the entrance of the parking lot with a donation box where you could put money. The recommended fee is $3.00. I’m always up for supporting our local trails.
This is not a hike to go on in rainy weather, snowy weather, misty weather, or any weather that results in moisture of any kind. It’s steep and rocky, and would be quite slippery even unsafe to manage if wet.
There were a fair number of other hikers there when we were on the trails although we did enjoy our short time at the summit alone if you don’t count the mosquitoes.
I really liked this hike as it was challenge for a novice like me, and I felt accomplished when we made it to the top.
|things to know|
|Favorite ♥||View from the Top|