Monday, May 25, 2015

Hancock Pond, West Sebago, Maine

Body of Water: Hancock Pond [Maine Gazetteer Map 4, B 3.5]

Directions:  From Portland Maine: Take Brighton Avenue (Rt. 25 through Westbrook into Gorham.  In the center of Gorham, turn right on Rt. 114.  Stay on Rt. 114 and at the intersection of rt. 114 and Rt. 35 stay straight for about 9.2 miles then turn left onto Long Hill Rd.  At the end of Long Hill Road, bear slightly right onto Rt. 107 North.  Go a little less than 5 miles and then turn left onto Hancock Pond Road for about 4 miles.  Then turn left onto Fire lane 29.  The parking area is to the right of the fire lane and the boat launch is the first left. 

Boat Launch: Cement, grooved

Parking: Dirt Parking area off the side of Hancock Pond Road

Bathroom: Nope

Wildlife: Loons, Eagles, ducks, various fish, turtles, frogs

Reminder:  As we begin another season it is important to remember to respect wildlife, like loons and their nesting areas, and keep our waterways safe by washing our boats between adventures.  We don't want to spread  milfoil or other invasive plants. 

Notes: It was great to get on a new body of water today!  I am not sure how this pond has not been on my radar until today.  When I looked at my Maine Gazetteer to start my day, there it was, pretty big and not too far from Sebago Lake.  The Gazetteer had two boat launch sites shown, so I figured I had a good shot of actually finding the boat launch.  I was optimistic because I had also found a description of the pond on a maine.gov site here, which gave a bit of direction to the launch.  The drive to the pond was very pretty.  I passed some farms and some beautiful New England rock walls.  As I was leaving my house (around 10:30) I knew I would be going through Gorham and realized I would likely hit the Memorial Day parade. (I looked it up online and it was supposed to begin at 11.)  As a result I took a bit of a detour from what was probably a more direct route, but it was nice.  The air was filled with pollen as I drove and the skies were very overcast.  I had not seen any chance of thunder showers on the forecast so I decided that even if I got rained on it would be okay.

The boat launch was across a road (fire lane) from the parking area.  I unloaded my kayak at the boat launch but could have easily parked in the parking area and used my cart to pull the kayak all the way to the launch area.  [as a total aside, I broke my usual rule of using the bathroom before leaving my house and failed to take the opportunity to stop at potential places along the way... and had to venture into the woods behind/above the parking area.  Much to my pleasant surprise I found some beautiful Lady Slippers up there... I hadn't seen any of those in a long time.  They are so pretty I had to take my camera back to get some shots!]



Once I put my kayak in the water I had to venture to a very narrow stream that was to the left of the launch when facing the water.  It took me through a narrow culvert (a bit creepy!)  and after a bit a small beaver dam obstructed my way.  (In looking at google it seems that stream goes on for a while but I don't portage.)  The area beyond the culvert was kind of marshy, truthfully I anticipated on seeing a loon's nest, but didn't.  It was very peaceful.





After returning through the culvert I tried to decide in which direction I wanted to go... since I had driven past the part of the pond which was to my left, and it looked like there were places to explore, that's the direction I went.  I am a paddler who loves to hug the shoreline, This means I am not the most efficient at getting from point A to point B, but it does mean I get to see a lot.  The water in the pond is quite clear.  I saw a couple of good sized fish, probably about a foot long.  I am not sure what kind they were, but overheard some fishermen talking about the bass they caught there... so maybe they were bass.




One of the things I really loved about this pond was the shore.  The shoreline felt very "Maine..." which for me means there were areas where there were many rocks and areas that were sandy.   There were a few areas that had that marshy feel to them, and I kept my eyes wide open as I looked for loons nests, but did not see any.  (That does not mean they were not there of course!)  I did see a few loons, but they were very camera shy!

This is a loon... or was before it dove!  




There were other people out on the water, but this pond did not feel crowded at all.  I saw a few fishing boats, a person on a jet ski, and one power boat hauling happy kids behind it... but those people were mostly in the more open part of the pond.  (I tend to prefer the more quiet areas.)
As I moved out into the more open part of the pond the wind picked up.  I was grateful because it was a day of hatching for many small flies who were quite annoying.  they did not bite, but they swarmed around me.  (They served as a good reminder to buy some bug spray to add to my kayaking supplies!)

After exploring for a long time the sky darkened and the wind picked up and I decided to head back to the boat launch.  As always, but especially when exploring a new place, I had been keeping track of where I had been and where the boat launch was compared to where I was.  Before getting out of the water I saw another woman kayaker.  She was about to take her kayak out of the water, but noticed the narrow stream and the temptation to do more exploring won out and she got back on the water to see what she could see.  As I was pulling up to the boat launch a mother mallard duck came swimming along with a brood of ducklings.  They were so tiny, maybe some of the smallest I have seen.  They must be very newly hatched!

This was a great place to paddle.  It was also a great reminder to explore new places.  I have my favorite spots, but definitely need to take time to locate new places! 



While I did not see any eagles... this nest was in a very tall tree and I assume there are eagles on this pond. 

The only above water picture I got of a loon today!

Turtles, of course!

This was a tunnel on one of the shores...not sure of its purpose, but very cool. 





A frog!


It was very overcast with a few clouds. 


One of my favorite views of the day...



Tiny baby ducks!

A mother with 10 ducklings!


So fuzzy!

Happy Paddling! 




2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting your kayak trips! I just got a kayak late last year and was only able to go out a few times. I've been looking for some good places in southern Maine to paddle at and now you've given me a whole list. Thanks for all the work you put into this and maybe I'll see you out there some day!

    ReplyDelete