Maine can expect “an excellent fall foliage season”
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Just for the record, we would like to point out that it is still technically summer. But a major harbinger of fall has arrived in Maine, with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s first foliage report released on September 15.
Recent news has often been ugly, with the continued push for the Delta variant resulting in record numbers of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Maine and a complicated return to school, failure and chaos in Afghanistan, deadly floods in the south and central Atlantic, to name but a few examples. So if someone is looking to escape that ugliness with the help of nature’s beauty, or just want to breathe a little easier, fall in Maine is a great time to get out and relax.
“Maine experienced moderate drought this spring, but received a sufficient amount of precipitation in July, which brought many parts of the state back to near normal precipitation levels,” Gale Ross, door – Maine fall foliage talk (how’s that for a colorful role?), said in this year’s first foliage report. “Aaron Bergdahl, forest pathologist with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, predicts an excellent fall foliage season with the changing favorable conditions we have experienced. We are already experiencing shorter hot days and cool nights. This transition prepares us for the seasonal display of colors that we all look forward to. “
Weekly foliage reports divide Maine into seven regional areas. The two northern areas are currently experiencing little color change, while the rest of Maine is currently very low.
Generally speaking, the color first emerges in the northern regions and moves towards the south. According to the foliage section on the state’s website, foliage hunters can generally expect areas in the north to peak during the last week of September and the first week of October, mountainous areas. the central and western areas peak around the Indigenous Peoples Day weekend, and the southern and coastal areas peak around mid to late October. This is a general timeline, not guaranteed.
If anyone is wondering where to go to find indelible foliage, the state has already compiled suggestions on its website for each area, including the vivid yellows of Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park and a coastal road to to Route 1 in Zone 1, a walk on the Bold Coast Scenic Byway in Zone 2, a walk on the Guilford Memorial River Walk in Zone 3, explore the Covered Bridges of West Maine in Zone 5 and a hike on the trails of Aroostook State Park in Zone 6.
Last year, BDN columnist Aislinn Sarnacki wrote a handy guide on how to plan your fall foliage outings, along with a list of particularly productive hikes in the leaf viewing department. These sites include the 2 mile hike up Bald Bluff Mountain in Amherst, the winding trails through Davidson Nature Reserve in Vassalboro, Ferry Beach State Park in Saco, and the approximately 8 mile hike. km to Rumford Whitecap Mountain in Rumford.
Our own list of recommendations includes Borestone Mountain, a Maine Audubon reserve in Piscataquis County that offers trails of varying difficulty and breathtaking 360-degree views at the top. The moderate hike to Mount Kineo offers stunning views of Moosehead Lake from the top of a fire tower, although the ferry from Rockwood to Kineo stops in mid-October, so this adventure has a early expiration date.
If you’re looking for a scenic drive, but also trying to think outside the box, taking the Golden Road from Millinocket could be a fun (but sometimes bumpy) change of pace. And remember, it’s not just the trees that play a role in the fall color play. A trip east to catch the striking reds of the blueberry moors in the fall could be fruitful.
As has been the case during most of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting out and enjoying the beauty of Maine is a good way to make the most of a not-so-good time. While we’re not really ready to say goodbye to summer or watch another Maine winter, people might as well be enjoying fall while we have it. Keeping an eye out for the foliage and venturing out into the state to see it can be a good part of it. It is also a good way to discover other regions of Maine.