It’s not easy to get to Wabassus Mountain (844 ft), part of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) in central Washington County. We stopped there to hike this short (1.5 mile total out/back) trail off Wabassus Mountain Road on the way to Grand Lake Stream. Township (T) 43 Machias District (MD) of Bingham’s Penobscot Purchase (BPP) is the clunky name of the mountain’s location, a naming remnant of old Massachusetts maps used to delineate areas of land survey. For detailed driving directions from Route 9, check out the DLLT Visitor Guide or the Maine Mountain Guide. Or use your Maine Gazetteer the way it was intended (see Map 35). Either way, don’t rely on cellular signal-based GPS, because you won’t have it. A small (2-3 vehicle) parking area is immediately on the left before the trailhead.
The Wabassus Mountain trailhead, marked with a wooden sign, is just past a moss-covered stream descending the mountain. The trail itself is attractively marked by the signature silver and blue pine tree logo used by DLLT. The trail register recorded the most recent visit as three or four days prior to ours. Due to recent August rains, mushrooms and other fungi were pushing through the wet forest floor like another world trying to emerge. I ignored them at first, then began to document the shapes poking through the leaves and pine needles, as they grew more varied and colorful.
Further uphill, I saw a deep muddy track in the trail, like a man wearing a set of clogs pogo-ing up and down, and realized that it was the recent track of a giant moose. A large, dewy spiderweb blocked the trail at the entrance to the short circular summit loop, and I carefully stepped around it. Lining the small loop were raspberries and strawberries gone by.
Through the treetops, I could see the blue of sky and lakes, and more full panoramas are likely available in the winter months. The obscured view through the leaves and branches must be similar to what the mushrooms would see as they emerge from the ground – the sense of depth and distance and light. I never saw the moose, but there was deer scat on the summit loop and the constant chatter of birds. This was a short (30 minutes or so) but rewarding climb in a remote spot. A large turkey briefly blocked our way as we returned on Wabassus Mountain Road.
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