Maine Family Adventure: Mount Agamenticus

I recently headed to Mount Agamenticus by myself to hike. Something I have been itching to do since we got our first snow back in mid November.

Instead of cleaning the house (which desperately needed it), or doing the laundry or completing the three blogs that I’ve started months ago, I instead packed up my camera and snowshoes and headed to Mount Agamenticus after sending both my boys off to school.

The Mount Agamenticus region covers nearly 30,000 acres in the southern Maine towns of Eliot (my home town), Ogunquit, South Berwick, Wells and York. It is now a park reservation, with trails for hiking, biking and seasonal activities like snowshoeing... and even sledding. Mt. Agamenticus is a very unique mountain for its location. It is located just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean in York Maine, having an elevation of 691 feet.

From the top of Mount Agamenticus you have a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and the White Mountains in the distance. It has the highest elevation of any hill within its distance to the ocean from Portland, Maine to Brownsville, Texas.

Mount Agamenticus is a local treasure in my opinion. It’s like having our own (much smaller version) of Acadia right in our back yard.

And it’s stunning in the winter.

It was an overcast and dreary day, not exactly the winter wonderland I had been daydreaming of for my hike. But I knew that we were expecting rain and warmer weather, so before the snow melted away, I geared up for my hike.

When I I drove up to park at the base of the trail, there were no cars in sight- which I found odd since bad weather never stops Mainers.

It was just me, my camera and the snowy trail.

There are many trails to choose from, all various distances with lots of nature to see. Since it had just snowed a couple days prior, I didn’t know if I’d have to make a path of my own in my snowshoes. Surprisingly, the snowy trail was marked and groomed and full of imprints from hiking sticks, snowshoes and animal tracks.

It was so peaceful being alone in the woods. Only the sound of me crunching through the icy snow. I took everything in, breathing in the cold and refreshing air.

As I made it about half way up, the silence around me started to mess with my head.

The total silence started to feel eerie (I’m not used to silence, I live with two wild boys). And soon the panic started to set in…what if I came across a MOOSE!

Not likely at all. I mean I grew-up in the area and for almost 20 years the only time I came across a moose in the wild was when I saw one swimming across the Piscataqua River behind our house in middle school.

But I’m a mom and a worrier.

As I stood there, scanning the area nervously, I saw two large deer staring back at me. I waved and said hello, but they just stood there frozen. I felt like they were trying to tell me something! I quickly pulled out my cell and embarrassingly Googled, “what to do if you come across a moose.” The odds were not in my favor, according to my Google search. This was not a proud moment from someone who majored in Wildlife Management! I looked up from my phone and there they still were, warning me to turn around and head back. I walked toward them, trying to befriend them, hoping they’d join me for the remainder of my trek. Expectantly, they ran away…and I was alone again! That was my cue to go back and head to the top via my vehicle.

In the woods, I was hot and ready to peel off my layers, but when I got to the top of Mount Agamenticus, it was cold and windy. The sky was gray and there was a brief snow flurry.

The mountain was developed in 1965, and opened for the 1966-1967 ski season. In 1968, a chairlift, T-bar, and rope tow, with skiing on 3 trails were added. There was night skiing, a ski shop, summit lodge, and snowmaking. Sadly it closed in 1974.

I love all the old rusty remnants of the once chairlift and tow.

After exploring various lookout points at the summit and walking a few short trails, I decided to head home to warm up. I’ll definitely be back, but maybe next time I’ll bring my pup.

I have been to Mount Aggie (as I called it as a kid), three times in the last 5 months. Twice in November and then again in January, each time with snow. If you are local and haven’t been yet, you need to plan a trip. The drive up for the views are worth it, no matter the season. And if you’re visiting the area and love the outdoors and nature, this is the perfect spot…even in the winter.

The fist time we went, it was a beautiful and sunny day in November. It was our first snowfall in Maine.

This is my failed attempt of photographing my boys together!

After trying to convince them to hike through the woods, we decided to go sledding instead.

The area was filled with visitors like us, lots of families and college hiking groups.

First time on a snow sled for my two year old!

We returned again, the week of Thanksgiving, while the grandmas were in town. It had snowed throughout the night, so Mount Agamenticus was covered in deep, fluffy snow.

Isn’t there something so magical about trees draped in fresh snow.

My youngest was in daycare for a few hours, so my oldest son had us all to himself.

My mom decided to try some sledding as well, it was so fun to watch!

It was a morning full of special memories that I’ll always cherish.

I can’t wait to return.