Sunday, August 16, 2015
Peabody Pond, Sebago/Bridgton, Maine
Body of Water: Peabody Pond, [Map 4, B4]
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 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. Drive on Rt. 107 for between 3.5 and 4 miles where you will turn right onto Peabody Pond Road. Stay on Peabody Pond Road until the pavement ends and bear left. The boat landing will be on your right. (Peabody Pond is about 35 miles from Portland, but due to the back roads and slower stretches, it takes about 50 minutes to get there.)
This is looking down the dirt road (fire lane) after the pavement ends on Peabody Pond Road. The boat launch is a U shaped area, take the second entrance.
As you enter the boat launch area you will see these signs. You need to stop. After you stop there is a small building on your right. This building houses a water pump to which a hose is attached. Wash off your watercraft before entering the pond. (It was not working today, but whenever there is a washing station, PLEASE use it! We need to make sure we do our parts to prevent milfoil!) )
Boat Launch: Paved into sand/gravel. Once upon a time I assume this launch had more pavement. It is a nice gradual launch. The bottom of the pond at the launch site is sand/gravel making for an easy in and out! (The boat launch is a bit secluded from the rest of the lake, pay attention to the camps/houses that are close to the launch to make sure you find your way back! An experienced paddler recently shared she had gone on an adventure and had a hard time finding the launch site when it was time to take out!)
Parking: The launch area is a U shaped area. There is parking for 4-6 vehicles, depending on whether or not the vehicle is towing a trailer. I was here on a Sunday, arrived at 7:15 a.m. and was the only one there besides the milfoil inspector. When I left around 10:30 there was one other vehicle parked and another arrived while I was loading. I would anticipate most people coming to boat in this area go to more well known bodies of water, so parking here would likely not be an issue. (If there is no room here, you are very close to Hancock Pond and could go there as a back up! Click Here for that post!)
Bathroom: Yes, there is a porta potty next to the boat wash station.
Wildlife: Loons (Actively nesting loons, be respectful!), heron, Ducks, songbirds, beaver, fish
Notes: Yesterday one of my friends and I went to the Highland Games in Topsham and were driven away by the high level of humidity. We decided to drive and ended up on some back roads. I told her that you know you are on country roads when there is no center line! Well, out here there is no center line because the roads are dirt! (The only disappointing factor in today's paddle was me leaving the memory card for my camera inserted in my laptop at home, on the coffee table... so..today's photos are brought to you by my phone. I am pleased with them, but also know I would have had some amazing shots today if I had my camera!!)
When I arrived at the boat launch I was pleased to see a PRE wash station for watercraft that would be using the pond. I was disappointed however, that is was not working. I have seen only one other wash station (at Trickey Pond, which I hope to do soon!) That one was designed to use after paddling, but I like the idea of washing down before putting boats in the water. Kudos to folks at Peabody Pond!! The milfoil inspector was there. He was young and not yet awake, but I am grateful he was there doing that important job. I put in and could hear the sound of running water and paddles towards the sound. (Paddle carefully, there were a lot of rocks to avoid!) There is a small dam just next to the boat launch.
After weaving my way out of the secluded area of the boat launch I got my first view of the pond complete with two loons to welcome me! (Can't see them well here, sorry!)
Fortunately they welcomed me after I went into a small cove...they followed me in and swam around me, seeming to be curious. I got to see them swim under water (suck a treat!) and hear them breathe as they surfaced. (If only I had my camera!!!)
The light through the trees was beautiful!
The reflections were beautiful. The trees did not look this dark, but I don't know how to control the exposure on my phone, but it is still pretty.
There are not many coves or offshoots on this pond. However, I had read online (I cannot remember where I saw it) that there is a stream that connects Peabody Pond to Cold Rain Pond. I loved that idea - to paddle to another smaller pond! I found the stream off this southeastern cove and was excited to see there was a clear path between the lily pads.
My excitement was short lived as I got to this beaver dam/house. Someone, as you can see, has cleared a path to the pond form the spot where they store their boat. I tried to get back there, but the water was too shallow and the roots of the lily pads and other weeds were too thick. (If I was more courageous I may have gotten out and portaged, but, as you all know, I am not that kind of girl! I don't like to walk in weeds and muck!) So... I turned around! (There was a heron back here, posed perfectly in the best light, but... I am not as fast with my phone, so I missed it!)
I headed back out to the main part of the pond to finish exploring.
It was so peaceful!
ROCKS!! This is an important note: There are a lot of BIG rocks that are very CLOSE to the surface of the water. I typically hug the shore when I paddle, I love looking at the plants and root systems and often feel safer doing so, but here, I kept some distance, watched for weeds that were above the water (meaning the depth of the water was more shallow), and the sunlight helped me spot the big rocks. I paddled pretty slowly too, just in case I inadvertently got stuck on one.
This is another shot in which the size of the rocks under the surface is visible. If you have kids with you, tell them to be cautious!
More rocks... close to the edge!
I was thrilled to see an adult loon with a youngster. I couldn't get good shots, but this loon is starting to change color, getting more gray on its head/beak. It was smaller than I thought it would be at this point in the summer, but I was so happy to see it thriving, diving for fish next to mom/dad and having some luck!
I made my way around the east side of the pond. There are few camps/houses along that shore. The other shore is more inhabited. (You can see the western shore in the picture above with the loons, more houses/camps.)
This picture is a little funky. I was playing with my phone and took a panoramic photo. The angles of my paddle look funny, but it gives you an idea of the views this morning!
HUGE dragonflies were all around today. They were very friendly and landed often. (And sounded like planes as they approached!)
There are two islands in the lake, one behind the other. I did not get close to them because there was a family exploring them and I did not want to invade.
This is the western shore, again, more houses/camps.
This is on my way back to the launch site. It looks like a dead end. I was glad I remembered the camps along the edges to know I was in the right place.
Another big rock!
The boat launch is just beyond that tall tree almost in the center of the picture...
Returning to the boat launch...
I am trying an app recommended to me by a paddling friend. It tracks where you paddle, how far and how fast you go... of course I am a slow paddler, more interested in the sights and wildlife than the pace, but it is good information.
This excursion made me remember why I love to paddle so early.... little to no boat traffic, and still waters with beautiful light. Something about this pond that I found impressive is that the homes/camps along the shores are used and well loved. I saw a lot of people waking up at the lake, going for their morning swims, fishing from their docks, a few canoes, and a couple of fishing boats. There was one speed boat and one water skier. (I hope they know the lake well to avoid the many rocks just below the surface!)
My father would be disappointed if I did not mention fishing in this post, given that I read about some anglers landing some impressive fish here. I am not a fisher-person, but in doing a little online research about Peabody Pond, I read that it is a place to catch some great fish, including salmon and trout. Because of the clarity of the water, as I was paddling, I could see several bass nests or beds.
Peabody Pond, in comparison with other ponds nearby, is small, but coming here is a huge reward!