I left home before the sun came up in order to get to Camden a little early. I wanted to grab a few caches on the way. Prior to meeting the group I bagged three geocaches. GC169M9 - A LITTLE PAGE was a simple park and grab found on the drive up. It overlooks Damariscotta which I find to be one of the loveliest little towns in mid-coast Maine. GC1K927 - Old Carriage Road Cache and GCVVW - Shirt tail? are found in Camden. The former is on the edge of the park on a trail the connects Route 52 to the hiking path to Mount Battie. It's a great alternative to driving to the top of the mountain. The latter is in a small park on the opposite side of Megunticook Lake. The cache page describes it as "...a little known municipal park with a playground, picnic area and is a pleasing place to take your family". I agree. A hidden gem that's so quiet you could easily forget you're so close to downtown.
After killing time around Camden, grabbing myself a soy latte from Zoot Coffee in the process, I headed over to the parking area at the trail head to meet my group. There would be eight of us total; all employees of L.L. Bean. We started at about 10:00 AM on our way to Maiden Cliff which overlooks Megunticook Lake. Maiden Cliff is a memorial site to Elenora French, a young girl who fell to her death from this spot when trying to catch her hat, blown by the wind, in 1864. A haunting story for sure, but the views are awe inspiring. It's also the site of the days first cache in the park. GCWX3K - At the Edge of Life aka "Life At the Edge" is just a few steps off the trail and is easily one of the most organized cache pages I've seen. The hider doesn't want you to go home empty handed so they have provided photo clues. You can go into this cache with as much of as little information as you want in order to find it.
Our group proceeded to Ocean Lookout via the Ridge Trail. This was the longest leg of our journey at about 3 miles over some pretty gnarly trails. I use the term trail loosely since at times it seems we were mostly walking uphill through small streams. This was my first encounter with this kind of terrain and I'm glad I had waterproof shoes. One of the members of our party had a pretty worn our pair of Nike running shoes with a sizable hole in the forefoot. I think "breathable" was the word he used. At the Lookout you are rewarded to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Camden's picturesque downtown, as well as the finest foliage we had seen all day. Peregrine falcons flew close to the cliffs over deciduous growth at 70% peak. It was beautiful.
Close to the Lookout is GC176YH - Juliebug's Cache. The cache is about 30 feet off the trail and was a fairly easy find. What I found rewarding about this cache was not the find, but the interaction of my fellow Bean hikers who seemed more enthused about this one than the first. I think I may have converted a few folks. There were questions to which I gladly shared my version of answers. I'm not the authority on caching by any means. There are others with far more finds, and anyone with even one hide has more than I, but it was great to be able to share what I know with an excited audience.
From there it was all downhill. It's pretty deceptive. You would think going downhill is easier than up. By the end of the 2.5 mile trek back my knees were yelling at me and my quads will probably be echoing the same tomorrow. It was an intensely gratifying trip. I feel more connected to those I work with, I found a decent handful of caches, and got to visit one of Maine's most beautiful places during it's most beautiful season. It was the best time I've had in recent memory and I can't wait to repeat the experience with my new friends in the Employee Outdoor Club.