Book of July: HIKES & Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION

If you think I’ve promoted this book before, you are correct, for HIKES & Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION by Marita Wiser was featured as the Book of October in 2016.


But . . . I’m thrilled to announce that Marita has published the Sixth Edition, aka 25th Anniversary Edition, of her hiking guide and it’s available at local stores as you read this. Or you can order directly from her, and I’ll tell you how later in this review.

m2-signed copy

Before I tell you about changes since the Fifth Edition, let me say that I’m a bit biased for I’ve had many the pleasure of hiking the trails mentioned within with Marita, and sometimes her lovely daughters, and she once again offered me the kindness of letting me edit. She even paid me. How cool is that? And then gave me a signed copy.

m4-blaze orange

To top it off, I modeled blaze orange with her youngest, Marguerite! If you’d like me to sign your copy, I’d be happy to do so 😉

To keep things fresh, Marita recast her rating system with two green circles meaning easiest and one green equaling easy. That was to differentiate between those like Holt Pond or Pineland Farms, which have well-groomed and fairly flat trails (or boardwalks–just watch out when wet), from Pondicherry Park or Mount Ti’rem, where the terrain varies more, but still isn’t enough of an elevation change to meet her guidelines for a blue square indicating moderate such as Mount Will or a black diamond meaning hard like Mount Chocorua.

She also added some color photos as you can see from above, but I love that she kept some classics, including a few of her daughters that were taken twenty years ago.

The centerfold map is also in color and shows not only where the trails are located, but their degree of difficulty as well.

One of the final new additions is what she’s titled “The Lure.” What is there about a trail that might attract you to it? Marita spells out those keen features such as “wheelchair accessible,” “plenty of vertical for a cardio workout,” “interesting old foundation,” and “the Rock Castle.” There are more, but you’ll need to purchase the book to read them all.

r8-mount kearsarge 1

Among the new trails Marita recommended in this edition is the Red Tail Trail that leads to Black Cap Mountain in North Conway. My guy and I had the privilege of introducing her to that one fine day last fall.

s-Marita, Bruce and Gary 2 (1)

Together, she and I discovered the well-built trail that Bruce, the property manager, and his assistant, Larry, were building on Long Mountain in Albany.

l9a-teepee and islands in background

She’s also kept in the classics like Pleasant Mountain and . . .

c-heading up 1

Mount Chocorua and their varied trails.

I’d give away all the surprises if I told you more.

Oh, and one more thing I like about this book is that it’s an all-local effort with Marita’s writing, her mother’s sketches, an old friend’s work on the map, my fine editing skills, Laurie LaMountain of Almanac Graphics (and Lake Living magazine fame) on design, and production of the final product at Cardinal Press in Denmark. Denmark, Maine, that is.

m3-back cover

You may purchase a copy of HIKES & Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION, which is printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, at your local shop, including Bridgton Books where its long been a best seller. And if you don’t live locally, but still would like to buy a copy, the information on the back cover as seen above provides all the details you need.

HIKES & Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION by Marita Wiser, designed by Almanac Graphics and self-published at Cardinal Printing, both of Denmark, Maine, 2018



Painting Naturally

It finally rained in Maine–for several days. But today featured sunlight, clouds and cool temps–just the right conditions to join my friend, Marita Wiser, (author of  Hikes and Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION) for a climb up Pleasant Mountain.

LELT sign

Loon Echo Land Trust owns 1,859 acres on the mountain, including the Ledges Trail, which was our choice.


Thanks to the efforts of Loon Echo’s volunteer base and the help of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the trail is well maintained. (AMC actually happened to be working down the road at the Bald Peak trail)

view from ledges

About halfway up, the view from the ledges includes the Denmark end of Moose Pond.

rock tripe

Marita was kind enough to endure my photography stops. Here, the greenish hue of rock tripe, that turns brown when dry and can survive for a long time without water.

pink lady's slipper

Pink Lady’s Slippers decorate the path.


A few wet spots meant we occasionally left tracks.

summit sign

At the summit, we paused for a while.

ft 1

Here stands the 48-foot fire tower, erected in 1920 and manned until 1992 (I know this because Marita wrote about it). We chatted about The Pleasant Mountain House, a hotel that was built on the summit in the late 1800s and was torn down in 1908. It’s difficult to envision people coming to town via the Cumberland and Oxford Canal, then riding in a stage coach from the boat landing on Long Lake to the mountain. But they did.

summit view w: tree

We spent most of our time in awe of the colors.

summit view

view 2

view 3


I wasn’t the only one taking photos. By her sweater, you can see that it was just a tad nippy, though we both wore short-sleeved shirts and only an extra layer at the summit.

green shield

On the way down, the common green shield lichen was also brighter because of the rain.

ss 2

The dainty greenish-yellow flowers of Solomon’s Seal tried to hide, but we knew to look underneath.

false ss

False Solomon’s Seal, with its flowers at the tip of the stem, also grows along the trail.

water flowing

Where a few days ago, the few streams that cross the trail were dry, today they bubbled.

And so, upon my return home, it seemed only natural that I should head out to the vernal pool. Its story isn’t exactly over yet.


On the way, patches of Bunchberries are in full bloom.

bb 5

Like so many flowers, this one also has its own story to tell. Though it looks like it’s a plant with four white petals, those are actually bracts, the leaf-like structure located below the flowers.

bb & spider

The tiny flowers are in the center of the white bracts.

BB 4 leaves, 6 leaves

And here’s another thing to notice. Plants with four leaves do not have flowers, while plants with six leaves do have them. Reminds me of the Canada Mayflower, Wild Oats and Indian Cucumber Root–another case of a plant needing the extra energy from additional leaves in order to produce flowers.

Canada Mayflower

Not to be left out, the Canada Mayflowers are still in bloom.

Okey dokey–I’m finally getting to the vernal pool.


There was a bit of water in the depression, and I hoped that I might find wood frog tadpoles swimming about. Not to be. I didn’t even see any of those that died the other day. Nor did it smell so bad and there were only a couple of flies. The salamander eggs, however, were in different places than where they had started life. The sticks they were attached to have moved. Yet, the eggs were still there and except for being in different locations, they seemed okay.

sally 2

Will they survive with only a bit of dampness?

sally 4

True Confession: I did something I shouldn’t have done. I interfered with nature and put some of them into the wee bit of water. The jelly masses were warm to touch. Something will probably eat them soon, but I had to give them a chance.

butterfly 1

It was time to head home and get some work done. But . . . in the herb garden just outside the kitchen door–a Painted Lady.

Nature’s colors–a painting worth viewing each and every day.

Thanks for joining me for today’s wonder.