With our chilly brook crossings to Angel Falls behind us, we wonder what Maine Trail Finder means when it says we’ll do more rock hopping at Dunn Falls. (Click here for more information on Dunn Falls.) Fortunately, I have my four points method (both arms and both legs in the rushing brook) to steady me through mountain streams here in western Maine.
Driving through rural Maine, we clearly see the great divide between the Gold Coast of Maine (from Kittery to Belfast) and the rugged life inland. There are many good people living in houses with exposed tar paper or mobile homes trying to eke out a living now that paper mills are running at a much reduced level.
Driving through Andover, Maine (population 821) with its vacations home and year-round residents, I have learned that the community has done all it can to save the 62-student Andover Elementary School with its five teachers. For once the school goes, there is little reason for families to remain year round.
Eight miles out of town on the East B Hill Road, we cross the Appalachian Trail to begin our two-mile round trip to the Dunn Falls. At the roadside parking this mid-afternoon, we come upon Animal, his trail name from a 2012 thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Tattooed with that accomplishment on his right arm (yikes!), four years later he returns to the trail for a week to get a taste of his glory days.
Heading east one hundred yards down the hill from the road, we are advised to take a left on a blue blaze trail along the river of cascades and mini-waterfalls. At 230P on a 75F in the shade of the Maine forest, Paul and I have a Maine Department of Tourism spectacular day for hiking.
After seven tenths of a mile, we see a yellow blaze blob on a tree and further on a blue blaze across the brook, directing us to the Dunn Falls. Rocks are placed conveniently across this 20’ wide brook, so we just rock hop across without dipping in. Our climb up the hill is steady; this has family hike written all over it.
A very clearly marked trail takes us past the 80’ Lower Falls, which we only catch glimpses of through the trees. We can get to the head of these falls, but that is hardly an impressive view compared to 70’ tumbling Upper Falls that awaits.
As we climb into the interior, we soon come upon a pool beneath the Upper Falls. Paul decides that this is the perfect time for a swim and dives into what is much icier, colder water than the brook to Angel Falls.
Me? Not today. I have contacts (not people with influence but plastic in my eyes). Nor am I dripping with sweat after our shaded hike, so hiking back in wet clothes is not my idea of a good time. Skinny dipping? Let’s not even go there.
So what have we learned this Monday afternoon in western Maine?
One, wherever you live, come to Maine and partake of a scintillating breakfast at the 1920s club car Deluxe Diner in Rumford. Tell Jody that Paul and Dan sent you. Click here for the Facebook page of the Deluxe Diner.
Two, if you are daring, hike to Angel Falls, fording the brook three times as you cross. It’s an Outward Bound-ish test that may just be the challenge you both want and need.
Three, take the quintessential “Bill Bryson-type Walk in the Maine Woods” on the Appalachian Trail to Dunn Falls.
Four, do all this with your version of Paul Rosenblum, a positive life force with an adventurous spirit.