A couple weekends ago I had the pleasure of hiking up Haystack Mountain with my good friend, her son, and another friend who is the master encyclopedia of Maine woods knowledge. I always say he should be in a children's show, because he keeps popping up with random facts and then disappearing again.
Starting up Haystack!
Haystack Mountain is in Castle Hill, Maine, which is about 10 miles out of Presque Isle. Although I don't know the "city" of Presque Isle very well, I've been here quite a few times over the years. My grandparents used to live in the "hub of the county" and, while it's called a city, the population only fluctuates around 10,000 people.
Also, the closest American Walmart (to my house even more upcountry) is in Presque Isle, 50+ miles south of I where I live. I say "American" Walmart because there's a Walmart right across the Saint John River, but until I buy my passport card, I can't cross the border into Canada.
Not that Walmart is what draws me to Canada. More than anything, it's the rumor I've been hearing that there's a really good Thai place there. As far as I know, the best Thai food around is 200 miles south of here.
So! Back to Haystack:
According to the Maine Geological Survey, the elevation of Haystack Mountain is 1,142 feet. The hike up Haystack is moderate, about one-third of a mile long. There were definitely some parts where I had to stop and catch my breath. I pretended I just had to take a picture of the frilly bark on this birch tree.
The rocky, woodland path up to the summit is fairly easy on the way up. As long as you keep an eye on where you're planting your feet and gingerly pick your way over areas of loose rock, you'll make it up in about 20 minutes.
We took the "hard" trail, which involved climbing over bulbs and knuckles of rock to the summit. We could have chosen the "easy" path which only had a short climb up just-plain-rock, but it was much more fun taking on the climb. It seemed that way anyway.
Until I was about halfway up the climb and thought What an inappropriate time to become afraid of heights. I'm not afraid of heights and I didn't become afraid of heights. For some reason, I was afraid of becoming afraid of heights. I love how my brain works.
Even Mila the dog climbed the rock with us. If she could do it (and my friend's little boy), then I certainly could.
And I did.
Life doesn't get better than standing on top of a mountain, even if it's a small one!