Looking For A Great Weekend Adventure?
John Clark letting you in on one of my favorite spots in Maine, one I first discovered more than 40 years ago. George Hall, Mike DeSisto and I worked together at the old Augusta Mental Health Institute and loved to fish. I don’t remember who came up with the idea to fish Pierce Pond, but we headed off with a small boat and our trusty DeLorme Atlas one Friday night and managed to find a passable logging road that came close enough to Upper Pierce Pond so we could carry the boat down to the shore. We fished that evening and all day Saturday. While we failed to catch anything, I’ll never forget the sight of three pound brook trout surfacing to snap up hatching insects. Unfortunately, we had nothing to match the hatch.
There were several interesting places to explore along the route to where we camped that night. The logging road no longer comes close enough to Pierce, but there are other easily accessed spots and these are what I’m sharing today. To get to them, take Route 201 north to Solon. At that point, you can keep going, or turn left at the blinking light and cross the Kennebec to follow Rt. 16 up the back side of the river. If you go this way, you might see herons or otter in Lily pond on the left.
If you continue on route 201, when you get to Bingham, turn left where 16 joins 201 and cross the river. Turn right and it won’t be long before you spot Wyman Lake. The view of the dam is impressive and if you want to know more about it, check out this article on the Maine Memory Network (https://www.mainememory.net/sitebuilder/site/815/page/1225/display). If you have kids with you, consider stopping at the public beach on your right. It’s a fine place to wade and get a look at the dam.
Next up is Houston Brook Falls. It’s a short hike down from the road. Look for it just after the Pleasant Ridge transfer station. If you visit when the water is warm enough, think about giving yourself a water massage in one of the pools below the falls. It’s also a fine place to build a rock sculpture.
A short distance past the falls is on your right is the Carry Pond Road. You’ll follow this for the remainder of your trip. I suggest doing so on a weekend as the area is actively logged and meeting a fully loaded logging truck isn’t much fun. There’s a picnic area on your right several miles in and several spots where you can admire Wyman Lake. I always slow down to look at the large home overlooking the lake and wonder about its history.
After you leave the lake, you follow a brook that is worth fishing if the season is open. It’s perfect for introducing youngsters to trout fishing. Don’t be surprised to see deer cross in front of you and a moose sighting isn’t out of the question. There are also some places where several western mountains are worth slowing to view.
The next stop is the best. Its at the bridge over Pierce Pond Stream where the Appalachian Trail crosses. I suggest having a camera and several hours at your disposal. Hike up the trail to Pierce Pond first. There are several waterfalls on this stretch and the view of the pond is nice. You’ll be at an old log dam and don’t be surprised to see a decent sized brook trout lurking under one of the logs that have washed up over the years.
The downstream portion of the trail is one of my favorite places in Maine. The first portion abounds with black winged dragonflies. As you go further, the stream drops several hundred feet through a series of waterfalls. Getting down to some of them is tricky, so be very careful. Don’t be surprised to meet through hikers as you head toward the point where the trail meets the Kennebec River. Hikers are taken across by rowboat (https://sectionhiker.com/the-kennebec-river-ferry-on-the-appalachian-trail/).
If you’re still game for more, keep going up the road. There are two small ponds on the left that aren’t easily spotted, but if you see a cabin on the shore, turn around and go back until you see a road on your right. You can park there and walk down to the shore. This is one of those rare spots where much of the time you can close your eyes and hear no sounds aside from those made by nature. Loons, ducks, deer and moose can be seen if you’re lucky. It’s also a place where you can put in by canoe or kayak and the trout fishing can be exciting if you hit it just right. If you do go, let me know with a comment here or in a future column.