Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Making Your Mark In Maine

When most people hear ‘Maine’ three key words immediately come to mind: lobster, moose, and mountains.  One of the top items on every visitor’s to-do list is a hike, so as a local innkeeper, I better have a good recommendation.  Over the past seventeen years I have explored almost every trail in the Camden state park, and all of them have distinct characteristics that make them unique and enjoyably variable.  Maiden’s Cliff provides an impressive overlook of Megunticook lake with a view of the ocean and surrounding mountains in the background.  Mt. Battie has the distinction of being one of the only spots on the east coast where the mountains meet the sea.  The ambitious Mt. Megunticook trail takes you along the ridge top and to the peak of our state park. However despite the differences in terrain, difficulty level, length, and scenery, all of our trails have one thing in common.
Cairns.  It may sound like a foreign language, but in Camden it’s a part of locals’ every day vocabulary.  Cairns are rock pillars or piles constructed by hikers at the peak of the trail.  Most of them start small with four or five rocks barely reaching up to the bushes, but they grow as each group of hikers comes across the monument and adds their own personal touch through the addition of another stone.  The exact origin of cairns is disputed.  Perhaps they began as trail markers or a way to claim territory.  Regardless of their past, cairns have a integral place in Camden’s present and future. For hikers, the sight of a cairn at the end of your long trek signals the breathtaking view that awaits you.  Camden Hills State Park is brimming with these forms of natural art.  After all, what better way to leave your mark than in stone.  

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