Cascade Falls and Bauneg Beg Mountain

Flags fly in the center of town at Old Orchard Beach.

Will and I stayed only one night in Maine, in a great little place on Old Orchard Beach, just south of Portland. We found a cute diner and had a yummy breakfast, then explored the beach. It was empty due to the season. The sun beat down, but it was a chilly May morning.

Old Orchard Beach in Maine.
Photogenic pier into the Atlantic Ocean.

Along our westward route leaving the beach, we sought out a short trail that promised a waterfall. The trailhead to Cascade Falls was easy to find and we began walking the short loop, admiring the new plant growth along the trail. I particularly liked the fiddleheads – new fern fronds. Apparently you can eat them, but I never have. The weather was lovely with a few bursts of sunshine, and we soon left the loop and went down a hill to the base of the falls. A family was already there, with two little boys who played with trucks and shovels in the mud at the base of the falls.

Fiddleheads along the trail.

It looked like winter storms had brought some trees down recently, and the view of the falls was somewhat blocked, but it was still pretty. There was a dark copper colour to the water, and we talked a little about what might cause it. I recall streams and lakes this colour when I lived in Vermont and Massachusetts, so it must be something about the soil in New England that causes it.

The water was a rich coppery red.
I liked the reflections on the water.
Cascade Falls beyond downed trees.
The red water makes it look dirty, but I doubt this is pollution, and suspect it’s minerals in the water.

It was a lovely trail, but short, and we soon left to go find a more substantial trail. I had spotted one in a list of trails called Bauneg Beg Mountain, that promised views. I thought it would be fun to hike to a mountaintop in Maine, because the rest of the two-week vacation would be in low elevation places. Soon we found that trailhead too. There was only one other vehicle at the trailhead, and two people stood at its raised hatched showing the inside filled with gear, and reviewed some documents. From their discussion, they seemed to be preparing for some kind of trail maintenance.

This “mountain” peaks at 866 feet, so it’s not representative of the kind of mountain that Maine really has to offer. There are 13 peaks in Maine above 4000 feet and one above 5000 feet. But the trail was beautiful and the land was heaped with rocks that add interest to a trail. There were a couple of marshy areas, but for the most part it was drying up from winter. Much of the incline is gradual, but after a short section of steep incline over boulders, we were treated with a wonderful view. It was better because at that point in the season, trees were not fully in leaf, and the views were more clear.

Near the beginning of the trail, we passed stone walls that reveal old property boundaries.
I love catching blossoms along trails. Spring is always the best season to find flowers.
Looking up at boulders beside our trail.
This is the “mountain peak.” In the west, we would call this a hill.
Panoramic view from Bauneg Beg Mountain. As you can see, our view is better while there are no leaves on the trees.

We had completed the loop in only 1.6 miles, and gained nearly 300 feet. While a somewhat short and easy hike, it was enough to feel good about getting into the car and heading south again. We crossed the New Hampshire border, blinked, and then crossed the Massachusetts border. States are small over here.

We prepared to drive across the state of New Hampshire….for a few minutes.

We headed out toward Gloucester, found our room for the night and got the proprietor to prounouce it for us: Wingaersheek Inn.

13 thoughts on “Cascade Falls and Bauneg Beg Mountain

    1. So interesting that it’s from beech trees, but thinking about it, that makes sense. I don’t recall if there were beech trees near this falls. I did some casual Internet searching and couldn’t find an explanation for this particular creek. I did find photos of the same falls from other times in the year when there was no noticeable red colour. So it is possibly a seasonal effect.

  1. Nice stroll. America has so much natural space preserved. Keep at it.
    Fiddleheads? Weird names. To me they’re ferns. Veeeery old ferns. 60 million years or so?

    1. Sure Brian, I’ll talk to my American nature people and tell them to keep up the good work! Ha ha. I think the country would go a little bonkers if we didn’t have our natural spaces. You should hear the uproar every time the government shuts down and parks close. People get very angry.

      I remember the word “fiddleheads” because it’s such a great word, isn’t it? Weird too! Fern fronds are called fiddleheads while they’re all curled up. Some people harvest the curled parts just as they emerge from the earth, and eat them. You are absolutely right: veeeeerrry old ferns. There are more than 10 thousand types of ferns and the current species are thought to be about 145 million years old, while the oldest fern found existed 360 million years ago.

      1. Yeah, I lived in the South for 2 years (Grad school) and loved the Parks. You’re right, they’re indispensable.
        Eat the fiddleheads? Must be like dandelion. 🙂
        360 million years? That’s even older than I thought. I have a fish fossil I bought in Brazil that is supposedly 110. 360? Mind-blowing actually.

    1. I agree with you Derrick, something in the soil. It’s so remarkable I assumed I would find an article online directly addressing the source of the colour, but I found nothing. It’s fun to speculate though.

    1. Yep, we are building a good body of discussion about the water here. I love that everyone’s adding their thoughts about it. I’ve been back in Rainier since May 28, and getting my place back together. Are you and your daughter still planning a yard sale today? I hope the clouds stay here so it’s cool, and I hope there is no rain.

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