Seven things that take a hiking trail from mediocre to amazing.

Summer was a little challenging but we’re finally getting back to our weekly hiking routine at least for the most part. Our favorite thing to do is take a road trip where we spend the day exploring a new area of Maine. We’ll find a fun place to hike that’s in the vicinity of a nearby craft brewery which is not difficult in Maine. We have a lot of them. We also find someplace new and fun to eat and maybe explore a few shops in the area. That last one is probably more me than my husband.

It’s always a great day, but in order to up our hiking frequency we need some trails that are closer to our house for those days where we don’t have the luxury of time.

One such trail that we went to recently was serviceable, but nothing special. It had a bit of a dead forest vibe with lots of downed trees and a random ravine in the middle although my husband did point out that the opening was the perfect size for a flying saucer to have landed so maybe it was a more interesting spot than we thought.

While not exceptionally pretty, it did get me thinking about what type of trails I enjoy most. We’ve been on some beautiful ones but had a few clunkers in there too. They can’t all be perfect.

Below are seven things that make a hiking trail more fun for me.

  1. Variety. I like trails that have different elements to them. A trail that passes through the forest and then opens onto an estuary, changing the landscape, is always a nice change of pace. Or, one that hugs the coastline before turning into the woods where you hike up to the top of a (small) mountain.
  2. Water. I love any trail that passes by water. Ocean trails are especially beautiful, and waterfalls are wonderful too. Honestly, I’ll even take a small stream. It’s not just the views. I find the sound of moving water soothing and it connects me to nature immediately.
  3. Challenging. I love trails that push and challenge us. That said, trails that are too strenuous for our level can take away from the fun. There’s a sweet spot. I’d say we hit it about 80% of the time.
  4. Well Marked. We’ve wandered off a few trails without realizing it which can be frustrating and, depending on where the trail is located, a little scary too. Fortunately, our missteps have been on trails where it was easy enough to recover but it wasn’t fun.
  5. Views. I like to be rewarded for my hard work so am always happiest when there are views some where along the hike. Getting to the top of a mountain always works although sometimes those hikes can push my skill level. Trails that have openings onto the coastline also never disappoint.
  6. Benches. While the strategic placement of benches along a trail generally offer picturesque spots for sitting and enjoying the views, I actually just think they look pretty and rarely use them for their intended purpose. I am especially fond of benches made from granite, rock or other natural elements.  I always have to stop and take a picture.
  7. Location. Especially on those hiking excursions where we are looking to make it a full day experience, having the trail close to other fun things to do is a definitely plus. Although, finding a few close to home with some of these other must have elements will be helpful too.

Do you like to hike? What do you think takes a trail from mediocre to amazing?

WIM Signature

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 709 other followers

#AtoZChallenge | R is for a Rocky Waterfall and Trekking Through the Snow

The sign letting us know we were only 1,000 feet from the entrance to Screw Auger Falls prompted us to slow down. We’d been to the falls before which I blogged about in my post Hiking Maine | Following in the path of the Ultimate Maine Waterfalls Road Trip so we had a general sense of where we were going. As we got closer, the lack of a break in the snowbank confused us until we saw the sign for the entrance resting on top. Apparently the parking lot to the falls is not open in the winter.

We debated continuing onto our next destination but knew the falls were only a short distance from the entrance so we pulled the car onto the shoulder and parked. After scrambling over the snow bank, we saw a single row of footprints leading in the general direction of the falls. I mirrored the steps and began the short hike to the falls. Occasionally, my weight would push through the top layer of snow plunging my leg into the unknown and slowing down our progress. We proceeded with caution. Continue reading

Top 10 List | Maine Memories from 2017

Looking back on 2017, my second year of blogging, I continue to be excited with the direction of my blog, and motivated to expand and grow my content. There is a never-ending selection of adventures available in Maine. But, before I jump into 2018, here are ten of my favorite activities from this past year, and links to the blog posts I wrote about them.

(1) Getting to Know Me | 30 Odd Questions #Blogfest . I was a blog hop newbie, but this year I participated in one hosted by Emily’s World and The Doglady’s Den. I met Debbie from The Doglady’s Den during the annual A to Z Challenge. I enjoyed learning more about other bloggers during this blog hop as well as sharing a little bit  about myself too.

Continue reading

Four hikes during our weekend at Northern Outdoors in The Forks, Maine

Moxie Falls was on my bucket list this year. We had visited some waterfalls throughout western Maine last summer, which I blogged about in my post Hiking Maine | Following in the path of the Ultimate Maine Waterfalls Road Trip. There’s something extra fun about hiking when there’s a waterfall at the end of your efforts.

Moxie Falls is one of the highest falls in Maine. It’s located in West Forks which was an area that I wanted to explore.  Since it’s a fair distance from our home, we made a weekend of it and headed to Northern Outdoors, a wonderful, knotty pine covered, rustic camp in The Forks. While they run adventure tours for white water rafting and other excursions, we were focused on hiking for this trip as well as checking another box off our Maine Beer Trail. Kennebec Brewing is located at Northern Outdoors. Continue reading

10 Maine Adventures on My Bucket List for 2017

As inevitably happens at the start of a new year, resolutions are made and plans for how things will be different begin to form. There are the traditional resolutions such as lose weight, exercise more, save money, and get organized. While those are perpetually on my list, for my resolution this year, I went a different route. I put together a bucket list of Maine related activities that I want to check off my list. Some are small things, others will require more planning but they are all adventures I hope to have this year.

  1. Join a CSA | Community Supported Agriculture. This one has been tumbling around my head for a few years now. Usually, I miss the sign-up period as most CSAs need to be ordered in the winter, and my thoughts of fresh summer produce don’t kick in until spring, but this year I am going to use the wonder of technology and set a reminder on my calendar so that I can sign-up. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website has a search tool to locate various CSAs throughout the state so I have a great place to start.
  2. Continue reading