My Book!!

One opportunity that the blog has brought me is the co-authoring of a guidebook, Paddling Southern Maine! It is something in which I take a lot of pride! My writing partner, Sandy Moore, and I have created a book with 54 amazing trips that are within about an hour of Portland! Our motto as we wrote the book was wanting to 'get people to spend the day on the water and not in their cars!'

If you want more information on our book please visit Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at for more information!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Highland Lake, New Perspective

I have posted Highland Lake before, last August, I think.  When I Was there last summer I enjoyed it, but didn't get to explore as much of the lake as I wanted to and while I was on the water I found some of the boat traffic to be... well...less than welcoming to kayakers.  However, I had a chance to spend a good chunk of time on this lake Sunday, more than four hours, and my perspective has changed.  I am going to share the directions again (along with the pictures I posted last time for directions) but there are new pictures and new notes below.  Enjoy!

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.

(Coordinates: 43.751982,-70.353998)

This is 302 West after the light at the intersection of 302 & Pride St.  (Taken from the Subway Sandwich shop across the street.)  Turn Right, follow the arrow! 

The Public Access sign on the corner of Mast Rd. and Lowell Farm Rd. Turn Left here! 

This sign is on Lowell Farm Rd. Turn left to access the launch site.  

You will then drive down a driveway to get to the parking/launch site. 

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.

*There are no bathroom facilities at this launch point.  

Wildlife: Herons, eagles,  loons, kingfishers, other birds, turtles, and fish.  

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 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. 

When returning to the main part of the lake from the stream area the water was so calm and it reminded me of kayaking in some of the salt water marshes/tidal rivers I have been on.  It was beautiful. 

If you look closely at this picture you can see the paddle blade of another kayaker paddling through the stream. 

Here is the link to my previous post: 

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