Schoodic Mountain from the south / by Greg Westrich

The Frenchman Bay Conservancy has connected several of its preserves. Now you can hike from the Baker Hill Trailhead all the way to the summit of Schoodic Mountain—where you can connect to the trails in the Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land. From the arched granite brow of Baker Hill, overlooking Sullivan Harbor. Through the Long Ledges Preserve and north past Long Pond, an undeveloped jewel dropped into deep, scratchy forest. Past kettles and ridges to Schoodic Bog. Then up Schoodic Mountain on a relentlessly steep granite trail. Over the open summit with view—it seems—of all of Maine. Down to Schoodic Beach on Donnell Pond. Up and over Black Mountain. Up and over Caribou Mountain. And out the Dynamite Brook Trail. That's almost twenty miles of great hiking.


I've already mapped all of it except the climb up Schoodic Mountain from its self-same bog.


To get there I turned off US1 in Sullivan onto Punkinville Road. I passes Baker Hill Trailhead and Long Ledges Trailhead. At the end of the road, I turned left onto Punkin Ledges Road, a nice gravel road that gets increasingly rough as you go. Past a gravel pit and down a hill, I turned left onto Schoodic Bog Road—more of a narrow two-track than a road despite the official street sign. Just up the hill is the Schoodic Bog Trailhead.


I followed the Schoodic Connector Access Trail into the spruce. I turned right onto the Connector. It wound over granite ledges covered with blueberry bushes, stunted trees, and scratchy gray lichen. Here and there lady slippers blooms hung from bare green stalks. In the distance, through the spruce, Schoodic Mountain sat impassive, bald.


The Connector ends at the Schoodic Bog Trail—a rocky multi-use trail. Just before the Downeast Sunrise Trail, I had to detour into a narrow stream valley to go around a beaver-flooded section of trail. The first time I hiked this section, I startled a bald eagle out of one of the snags in the flooded bog.


I crossed the Downeast Sunrise Trail (a wide gravel trail built on an old rail bed that goes 85 miles from Ellsworth to Ayers near Cobscook Bay). I followed a blue-flagged ATV trail around the base of Schoodic Nubble. And then straight up the side of Schoodic Mountain across granite bedrock and through twisty oaks just leafing out.


On the return trip I followed the ATV trail east along the base of Schoodic Mountain above the bog. A very large moose startled off the trail and into the thick forest. It crashed through the trees staying ahead of me. Each time I got close, the moose ran ahead farther. Finally, it turned downhill and was gone.


After hiking through a grove of giant, mature hemlocks, I came to a junction. I turned right and came out on the Downeast Sunrise Trail. I followed the gravel trail west through Schoodic Bog. Schoodic Mountain loomed over my progress. The bog was purple with laurel blooms. Atop a dead spruce out in the soggy heath, an osprey keened from a branch next to its huge stick nest. Its mate circled overhead.


I stopped at a picnic bench and ate lunch, watching the open water for beavers. I could see several lodges from where I sat. Reluctantly, I got to my feet and headed down the trail, back to my car.


All told, I walked about 7.5 miles.