Off-the-beaten path in Camden

The ideal summer day hike, swim and beer

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 3:45pm

The perfect summer day in Maine involves a hike, a swim, and a beer, preferably in that order. Luckily, we live in a place where there are plentiful trails, lakes, ponds and rivers, as well as brews.

Hike  One stunning Midcoast hike off the touristy path is the Hodson and Rheault Trail, part of the Coastal Mountain Land Trust’s conserved lands in Camden. After parking in the small lot off Molyneaux Road, take the Rheault Easement Trail up the mountain with hemlock groves to guide the way. A quick detour on the Hodson Loop at the beginning of the trail lets you explore an old sugar maple grove and apple trees. The hike gives your legs a workout, but the reward is at the top, for once you come out of the treeline, you’ll reach the summit of Howe Hill, a managed organic blueberry barren.  The breeze will refresh you, along with the views of Bald and Hatchet mountains. And in August, blueberries! Pick a few to refresh yourself, but always be respectful and stay only on the trail. And, be cool: Do not take containers with you for blueberry picking. 

Swim   After your hike, a swim is literally right around the corner at Megunticook Lake. But we’re going to take you through the back entrance: Take a left where Molyneaux Road meets Route 105 and drive to the Bog Bridge Boat Launch. There will be parking on the left side of the road. The boat launch will be busy, but keep walking west over the Bog Bridge approximately 500 feet until you get past the metal rail. On the right is another Coastal Mountain Land Trust gem, the McPheters preserve with lake access. No trail exists, but it’s an easy walk to the lake. Likely you’ll have the spot to yourself.

Brew   Get on Route 105 back to Camden and perch your tired, yet refreshed, posterior on a bar stool at Camden’s only brewpub, the Sea Dog. While you might be tempted to go from blueberry barrens to their Blueberry Wheat Ale, there is one utterly crisp and refreshing post-hike beer that hits the spot: The Deep Stowage IPA, a golden IPA, is not too hoppy and showcases subtle attributes of late-boil additions of Citra, Bravo, and Manderina Bavaria melded with a fruity, citrusy and spicy quality. A refreshing end to the perfect summer day.