Body of Water: Highland Lake, Falmouth/Windham, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, D3 ]
Directions (from Portland, ME): Take 302 west from Portland towards Windham. After crossing Riverside Street stay on 302 for just over a mile. Rt. 302 widens to two lanes just after the traffic light at Brook/Pride St. There is a right turning arrow in the right lane, follow this arrow and turn right onto Elmwood Avenue, which turns into Duck Pond Road. (I am not sure at what point it changes as there is no road sign or marker.) COntinue following Elmwood/uck Pond Rd. for about 2.2 miles then take Mast Rd. which will be on your right. Stay on Mast Road for about 0.6 miles and on the left you will see a sign for the public access point as well as a sign for Lowell Farm Rd. The access point is down Lowell Farm Rd. Follow the signs for the access point. You will turn left off Lowell Farm Rd to the parking area.
Boat Launch: The boat launch is sand and gravel. Where you put in is quite shallow. Easy to put in. As you can see from the picture there are rocks that prevent boat trailers from using this access point.
Parking: There was parking spaces for 6-8 vehicles in parking spots and the road was wide enough for other vehicles to park along it if needed. (There was one truck parked along the road when I was there because it had hauled a trailer with multiple canoes.) There is no fee for parking here.
Notes: Highland Lake is very close to Portland. While I was on the water this time I saw at least a dozen other kayaks, a row boat, a coupe of canoes, and a few power boats. I was pleased to see the numerous kayaks, many of whom had launched from the public launch site. The part of the lake that I had not explored before was paddling to the left when leaving the boat launch. The last time I was there I made a mistake I tell others to avoid, I paddled a bit in that direction and it seemed to end at someone's home, so I did not paddle too close. However, this time I paddled down there and it kept going, for a while, all the way to the Highland Lake dam. (Always use caution near a dam) This part of the lake was beautiful. I found some of my favorite paddling friends, turtles, basking in the sun. The water was calm and the reflections were beautiful. (See pictures below.) At the opposite end of the lake I explored an area that had a lot of weeds and were fortunate to see a bald eagle attempt to catch something in the water. Whatever it was trying to catch made a large splash and got away. The sound of the eagle coming down from the tree into the water is always an amazing thing. A great blue heron also graced us with its presence and eventually perched in a tree. During this paddle I found Highland Lake to be beautiful and peaceful. Even though it was a holiday weekend the motor boat traffic was minimal. The people who were out on their docks/decks as I passed were quick to say hello and say how peaceful and relaxed I looked. I truly enjoyed paddling Highland Lake and am more likely to return to this spot after having experienced it this weekend.
The only parts of this trip that was less than satisfying was that I planned poorly. It was overcast when I first got on the water and did not apply sunscreen and took only one bottle of water. As the haze lifted and the sun shone brightly, it was very humid. I got a decent sunburn and would have loved a second bottle of water while out there. Oh, and there were red leafs...in the water...and some of the trees were turning yellow, signaling a change of season that I am not ready for! I will continue paddling this fall and sharing my adventures.