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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: June 5, 2014

Hiking: Take to the Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mountain

Written by: Carey Kish

The Georges Highland Path is a real gem of a trail system that offers many miles of hiking through a variety of landscapes in the region between Montville and Thomaston. From craggy mountain peaks to leafy woodlands to interesting bogs, the 50-mile network of the GHP has some of the most scenic hiking to be found on the Midcoast.

The Georges River Land Trust has been conserving land in the 225-square mile St. George River watershed since 1987. The group began building trails in 1996 and was instrumental in establishing the magnificent GHP. Other land trusts active in the watershed include the Coastal Mountains Land Trust and the Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance.

One day in the not too distant future perhaps, these dedicated and visionary organizations will connect the various segments of the trail into a continuous walking route. Meantime, however, you can enjoy a number of wonderful day hikes on any one of some eleven sections.

My favorite part of the GHP is the Bald-Ragged Section, an area I try to get to every couple of years. This 11-mile stretch in Camden and Rockport connects four good-size mountain peaks: Bald, Ragged and Spruce mountains plus Mount Pleasant. Along the way you’ll enjoy fine ridge walking, extensive open ledges with grand views, abundant wildlife, alpine plants and very soon, mega wild blueberries.

The best of this section in my opinion is the five miles over the long ridgeline of 1,300-foot Ragged Mountain, starting at the Thorndike Brook trailhead and ending on Route 17. It’s a 1.5-mile road walk back to the car via Route 17 and Hope Street when you’re done, for a total hike of 6.5 miles. Spot cars to avoid the road walk, or stash a mountain bike at the end like I did in order to take just one vehicle.

View to Grassy Pond from Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

View to Grassy Pond from Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

For more info and trail maps for this and many other hiking possibilities in this beautiful part of the Midcoast, check out: Georges River Land Trust, Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance, and of course, Camden Hills State Park.

Post-hike, belly up to the bar at Cappy’s Chowder House—my favorite watering hole in Camden—for a couple of cold ones and some good chow. On the way out of town, make your next stop at Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport for some big time gear browsing. Then top off your fun day up the coast with a cup o’ Joe and a scrumptious piece of pie at—where else—Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro.

 

Spruce Mtn. and Mt. Pleasant from GHP on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Spruce Mtn. and Mt. Pleasant from GHP on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Trail junction on GHP, Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Trail junction on GHP, Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Enjoy great ridge walking on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Enjoy great ridge walking on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Lots of open ledges on Ragged Mtn. offer great views. Photo © Carey Kish.

Lots of open ledges on Ragged Mtn. offer great views. Photo © Carey Kish.

on the GHP overlooking Mirror Lake. Photo © Carey Kish.

On the GHP overlooking Mirror Lake. Photo © Carey Kish.

GHP trailhead on Route 17 in Rockport. Photo © Carey Kish.

GHP trailhead on Route 17 in Rockport. Photo © Carey Kish.

Map of the Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Trail map of the Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mtn. Photo © Carey Kish.

Cold beer and good food at Cappy's Chowder House in Camden. Yeah! Photo © Carey Kish.

Enjoy cold beer and good food post-hike at Cappy’s Chowder House in Camden. Yeah! Photo © Carey Kish.

 

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