Roaming Rob: Camden Hills Foliage 

Autumn in Maine offers a variety of different colors on a wide array of different landscapes.One of the most picturesque views along Maine’s coast is the view from the top of Mt. Battie overlooking the city of Camden. The landscape offers a year-round feast for the eyes: the city below, the beautiful Penobscot Bay, and the surrounding forest. Add in a mix of colors during the fall season and you have yourself a postcard-worthy shot.“We’re at the trailhead that will eventually lead to the Mt. Battie trail. We’re hoping to see a beautiful shot as we look down at Camden from the top. Some nice colors here. Some of the most beautiful colors, hopefully, along the Maine coast. In the meantime, let’s just follow these blue blazes.”The trails leading to the top of Mt. Battie have an abundance of pines and coniferous trees. Few maples and other deciduous trees keep the trails rather green during the fall season. Most of the fall colors are seen closest to the coast. Since the hike to the top of Mt. Battie is rather short, I decided to veer towards the taller Mt. Megunticook, making my way to Adam’s Lookout before looping back towards Battie.“Getting closer to the top of Mt. Battie we do see the trees becoming more colorful. As this opens up, you can see some of the foliage located right along the coastline. I also see some glimpses of Camden. Looks like we’re in for a real treat at the top.”Weather plays large role in determining how the leaves will look in autumn. Plenty of sun and low temperatures can cause the chlorophyll in the leaves to be destroyed more rapidly and the colors to change faster. Freezing conditions can destroy the ability to make reds and purples in the leaves and end the foliage season faster. Drought can often cause leaves to fall before they change color. Heavy wind and rain, as we’ve seen recently, can cause the leaves to fall quickly, sometimes before they fully develop color.“Along the trail to the top of Mt. Battie we do have to cross the road. We’re following the blue blazes to the top of the trail so we can see Camden down below.”The trail proceeds just a little further after crossing the road before opening up at the top of the mountain. Many people avoid the moderate-level hike up the mountain and choose to drive up instead. The captivating views from the top attract tourists and leaf-peepers from all over the country: all coming with cameras and leaving with memories. An observation tower gives an incredible 360-degree view of Camden Hills State Park and the coast below, including the nearby Mt. Megunticook. The colors weren’t quite at peak when I took this hike, however, they are sure to be more vibrant this weekend and next week.“Regardless of what time of year you come to the top of Mt. Battie, you see some beautiful views of Penobscot Bay and also Camden down below. We are seeing some colors right now mixed in with the deciduous and coniferous down below, however, in another week or so it will be peak: a great opportunity for you to come with your cameras and take some breathtaking shots.”If you’re interested in hiking Mt. Battie, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry is sponsoring a hike on Sunday, October 14th at 1pm. The moderate 2.5-hour, 2.5 mile round-trip hike will be held rain or shine. Expect a park admission fee of $3/person (for Mainers). For more info, call 236-3109.