Exploring Maine on a Hike and Searching for the Fire Tower – The Bates Student

At Bates, we are fortunate to be surrounded by endless hiking trails and other outdoor opportunities. If you can get off campus, I highly recommend exploring the nature around us. Hiking is a great mental escape from any academic or social stress on campus while giving you the opportunity to be in nature and move your body.

Last weekend I felt stuck on campus and wanted to try something new. I decided to walk the hiking trails on the app All trails and I found a short one nearby. With over 200,000 trails with detailed maps and reviews, AllTrails is a great platform to use to find the hiking trail that’s right for you. (AllTrails also offers trails for other activities, including mountain biking, rock climbing, and snow sports.)

When researching a hike, I was interested in a medium length trail with views that weren’t too difficult. On the app, I was able to use the difficulty, length, and attraction filters to find a hike that matched my criteria. The hike I found is called the Tower and Blueberry Trail near Winthrop, Maine. Although I don’t know much about the hike, one of the reviews described that from the trail I could walk to a fire tower with amazing views. I was immediately sold, as I’m a sucker for good views.

Tower and Blueberry Trail near Winthrop, Maine (about 30 minutes from campus) is a great place to hike year-round.

The hike started with a steep climb, but eventually leveled off on a flat, hard-packed wooded path. About a mile into the hike my friends and I reached a clearing and the fire tower stood in the center. Tentative but excited, we climbed the steep, rickety tower stairs, nervously placing our feet.

When we reached the top we were greeted with a 360 degree view of the surrounding Maine terrain. We could see everything from the mountains in the east to the ocean in the west. The view was breathtaking. It reminded me how small I am compared to the world around me. Being in nature at this high altitude was both grounded and calming. It allowed me to de-stress and refocus. The hike also allowed me to bond deeper with my friends as we all had a new shared experience.

About a 30-minute drive from campus, the Tower and Blueberry Trail is easily accessible for any Bates student with a bike or car. It also has a good sized parking lot right next to the trailhead, so you should be able to find somewhere nearby to leave your bike or car. The loop is about two and a half miles and there is moderate traffic.

The view was breathtaking. It reminded me how small I am compared to the world around me.

Although I hiked the trail in the winter, it is best used from April to September and has some beautiful wildflowers in the summer. However, I enjoy winter hiking because the snow absorbs sound making the hike more peaceful. It can be icy though, so wear hiking boots or high grip shoes. I would also recommend layering in the winter as it can get chilly in the woods.

If you’re looking for a nearby hike but don’t know where to start, I highly recommend trying the Tower and Blueberry Trail because it’s relatively easy, short, and has amazing views. You can also try browsing AllTrails or even walk to Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary closer to campus for different trails to try.

Whichever hike you choose, being alone or with friends in nature will leave you with a clearer mind and a happier soul. So get off campus and immerse yourself in the diversity of terrain Maine has to offer.

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