Celebrating the Vernal Equinox

We fell asleep to winter and awoke early this morning–eager to celebrate the vernal equinox.


It was dark and cold (15˚) with a brisk breeze when we joined others for a 6am hike up Bald Pate sponsored by Loon Echo Land Trust.

b-sun begins

While we waited at the summit and tried to stay warm, we were treated to hot cocoa and amaretto cake. YUM!


And then . . .

b-sunrise 3

the sun shone upon this first day of spring.

b-vernal pool

After church, I made a quick visit to the vernal pool where ice is still the name of the game.

b-wet road

And after lunch, we headed off on another adventure. At first we followed an old road, which was tricky business.

b-1st fdn

Though at least six foundations are located along this road where young men carved out a living prior to the Civil War, we allowed ourselves time only to stop at one. We were on a mission.


We turned north at the power line and trudged up and down hills in search of a brook.

b-stream crossing

That direction didn’t feel quite right, so we followed our noses and turned into the woods.

b-posted 1

And then we stumbled upon a property line that was posted. We love the fact that in Maine one can walk upon any property that isn’t posted. This one was recently marked and so we respected the landowner’s wishes.

b-meandering stream

That is, until we got to a point where we decided to trespass after all. Our journey took us past meandering streams,

b-stream crossing 2

stepping across others,

b-wetland 1

slogging through boggy areas,


and tripping among the understory.

b-deer rub

We saw where a deer had rubbed its antlers,

b-deer scrape

another enjoyed fine dining, and

b-deer skull

a third said goodbye as it returned from whence it came.

b-polypody 2

We found common polypody fern (Polypodium vulgare) indicating that the temperature was higher than it had been earlier in the morning.

b-polypody 1

This was our view of polypody when the temperature was much lower on Bald Pate.

b-pork den

We passed a porcupine den.

b-porky tree

And then we came upon downed hemlock branches and

b-pork scat 1

fresh scat.

b-pork in tree 1

I looked up.

b-pork in tree

He looked down.

b-game trail beside brook

Finally, we found ourselves walking along a game trail beside a brook–feeling like we might just be on the right track.

b-mill pond

Where the brook widened into a pond, we knew we were in the right place.

b-on a rock

Just below the pond, my guy stood in the middle of the brook, excited about our find. We’d attempted to locate this spot a year ago and missed it by a long shot.

b-mill site1

According to the 1858 map of Oxford County, we were at the sight of R. Bennett’s sawmill. I’d first visited two years ago with my friends, Sue and Janet. It’s actually located on Sue’s land. We’d come in from her home on my first visit, but today we came via Old City.

b-b mill 3

b-b mill 2


b-bmill stones brook

A year ago, my guy and I snowshoed in search of this sight but never found it so we were gleeful about today’s success.

b-fdn near mill.jpg

Our intention had been to search for the mill until 3:30. We found it just after 4pm. And rather than try to follow the stream back, we decided to bushwhack in a more westerly direction. On a hill above the mill we found a foundation made of drilled stones that are neatly hidden by moss and ferns and assume it was part of the mill.

b-rock pile?

Our bushwhack continued until we finally emerged by a rock pile beside Old City Road. Its circular formation had me thinking water well.

b-double wall

Will we ever find it again? That’s always a question, but now we know to walk along the road until we reach the last double-wide wall and then turn at the well.


I liked the ghost-like effect of my guy walking back on the road–reminiscent of the men who once lived here and worked these woods. I followed my guy out and both of us occasionally felt the suction of mud. Occasionally one foot was drawn into the earth as if it intended to stay behind. We finally returned to our truck at 6pm (so much for our intention to be home by 4:30), our celebration of the vernal equinox complete.





4 thoughts on “Celebrating the Vernal Equinox

  1. I was waiting for a story about the dawn you experienced this morning. But so much more! Needless to say, I need to follow that path to the Bennett mill! Good going LMacH and her guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s quite a bushwhack, my friend. If your ears were burning, it’s because we were talking about you–I knew you’d want to be there. It was a last minute decision today, but we’re game to go again with you. We know how to get there now, but you have to be prepared for lot of water. Today mud–tomorrow bugs. Well, maybe not tomorrow.


  3. A long day, full of wonder and wanderings…..celebrating the vernal equinox……..loved the slightly out of focus photo of your guy!

    Faith sent from my Ipad


    Liked by 1 person

  4. And today, Faith, it is snowing. Such is March and spring in Maine. The out of focus photo wasn’t intentional, but I’m with you on that one. 🙂


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