Posted by: Sand Squiggles -- Richard Modlin's Blog | October 16, 2013

GOLDEN ROAD

Baxter Park mountain range from rise on the Golden Road.

Baxter Park mountain range from rise on the Golden Road.

This private road built for the use of logging trucks and passes a few miles south of Baxter State Park, crosses roughly a 50-mile swath of central Maine from Millinocket to Greenville, and passes through the most spectacular wildness of forest and meadow in the state. It’s wide, a partially asphalted gravel, almost freeway-like, highway that parallels the west branch of the Penobscot River to the Ripogenus Dam. Here it crosses the dam and continues on to Greenville. The stretch from the dam is less developed than the first 37 miles. From just beyond the dam the trip is a slow 15-mile experience of gravel, rocks, and potholes.

Roadside Autumn Leaves.

Roadside Autumn Leaves.

Pallette of Autumn Colors

Pallette of Autumn Colors

As I mention above, this is a private road used by logging trucks—they have COMPLETE RIGHT-OF-WAY. Mile markers are located along the road and the few signs traffic warn of sharp turns and obstacles. There are no speed limit signs. Though accessible to private vehicles, these must pull to the shoulder when a several tandem, dust blowing, log-loaded, behemoth is sited barreling up from behind or toward them. But loggers also relax over the weekend. So, if taken on a Saturday or Sunday, the trip is fantastic and usually unhindered by logging trucks.

Known primarily by fishermen, hunters, snowmobilers, hikers (the Appalachian Trail encounters and crosses the Golden Road at Abol Bridge), nature photographers, and local adventurers, few others are aware of the Golden Road or of its attributes. 

Mountain and Autumn View.

Mountain and Autumn View.

Marsh off Golden Road

Marsh off Golden Road

  

When a Wooly Bear Crosses the Road, Winter is Coming.

When a Wooly Bear Crosses the Road, Winter is Coming.

 

Pond with Autumn Reflections

Pond with Autumn Reflections

In autumn the view from the road is indeed golden, and red, green, blue, yellow, white, brown, beige and all the other colors that occur when summer progresses to winter. There are many fantastic vistas of Mt. Katahdin and the other mountains that comprise Baxter State Park. Views of falls and white water can be seen from the pull offs and campsites located all along the Penobscot River. Bald eagles, golden eagles, hawks and owls, arrays of migratory birds and ducks, white-tailed deer, porcupines, fox, and an occasional black bear may be sighted from the road. Since many small ponds, bogs, streams and marshes are along the road or a very short distance from it, a trip along this private artery after sunrise and/or before sunset is a perfect time to see moose. They abound in this region of Maine.

 

Un-named Stream

Un-named Stream

Mt. Katahdin from Abol Campsite.

Mt. Katahdin from Abol Campsite.

Abol Bridge with Thru-AT Hiker Taking in the View

Abol Bridge with Thru-AT Hiker Taking in the View

Recently Marian and I took a Saturday drive along the Golden Road. We accessed it from a short gravel road across Hwy 157 from the boulder on the right that advertises features of Baxter State Park. The park’s entrance is a couple of miles ahead. We drove about 15 miles up the road, lunched at Abol Bridge Campground, talked with a couple of thru-AT hikers, and took many photographs. On our return we exited closer to where we were staying—Twin Pines Camp—at the causeway between Ambejejus Lake and Lake Millinocket.    

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© Richard Modlin, 2013


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