Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You can't get there from here

We are finally camped in the woods of Maine, at a roadside "primitive" campsite along Oxbow Road (map), a mile or so from Maine 11 and about that far from the Oxbow itself, a hydrologic feature of the nearby Aroostook River.

Despite the famous assertion from Bert and I, we had no trouble finding our way to Millinocket after turning north on Maine 11 at Milo. From there, ME-11 runs all the way to I-95 at Medway, and the two routes diverge for a couple dozen miles north to Sherman Station. We opted to pass those miles on the Interstate, which our AAA map had marked as "scenic."

It was, in fact, scenic, but I would be hard pressed to say that 11 would have been less so. We are in the very peak of fall color in this part of the state right now, and it is perhaps true that the freeway offered more panoramic views on occasion, including the brief stop we made at the Katahdin overlook, with a nice view of Maine's highest peak in the distance over a vast expanse of forest displaying a rainbow of color.

At Sherman Station we said goodbye to the Interstate for good, again continuing north on ME-11. Our DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer indicated there was a primitive camp site in this spot (and many, many more dozens of miles off our route down dirt or gravel roads), as well as a commercial campground a few miles further along the road, in the town of Oxbow. We very nearly missed it, as it is hardly more than a rocky clearing on the side of the road.

A brief exploration of the site, with Odyssey on the shoulder with her flashers on, revealed that there were a pair of circular fixtures here once upon a time, chained to the ground; they might have been campfire rings. A trail leading off into the woods had a robust rough-hewn picnic table nearby, and the trail ended a hundred feet or so in at an old but serviceable outhouse. This was enough evidence for us that this was a legitimate camp site (the Atlas calls it a "maintained forest camp site"), and so we jockeyed our way in. It appears to be very lightly used.

In warmer weather and with more time (we are feeling some pressure to keep moving, so we are not caught too far north as the weather turns), we might well have trundled down some of those dirt roads into the forest, perhaps toward Baxter State Park, to spend a few days in the woods. But for now, this stop will have to suffice as our backwoods Maine experience; by day's end we will be back into civilization, probably somewhere near Presque Isle.

In a few minutes we will gingerly back out onto the road, and continue north all the way to the border, where we will join US-1 at its northern terminus.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like so much fun. Enjoy the colors, and keep up the photos. Coming closer to Portland soon Eh?


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