There were two very specific reasons I moved to Maine. The first, as I’ve mentioned several times before on PTV, has to do with the relieving of my overabundance of mind melting stress. The second is, of course, the silence.
So when The Girlfriend and I took off for a day of hiking fun, my hopes of finding some pure silence in the woods — and my impressions of Maine in general — rested on this one trip to Tumbledown Mountain just outside the tiny town of Weld. For a time, on this slightly overcast Monday, I felt as though I would be let down. But just like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes and everything will change.
A late start and nebulous directions set our arrival time at the Brook Trail trailhead sometime after noon. Undeterred, the lady and I strapped on our boots, showered in bug spray, and sauntered off to the trailhead. This being our first moderately difficult hike together didn’t deter me (she readily admitted she was a little out of shape for it), but I did prep myself for a slower hike. Turns out, the slower pace was a good thing.
From the parking lot, it was a straight shot up an old logging road, abandoned long ago when the land around Tumbledown became protected. Traveling the 1.0 mile along this rock covered former roadbed can be tough on the feet and ankles, so it is recommended that you wear sturdy boots and take rest breaks. A twisted ankle is just not worth the hassle on this short, 1.5 mile hike.
At about a mile from the trailhead, the trail banks to the right, beginning the more challenging part of the hike. Really, the next .5 miles are what make this hike worth it. No pain, no gain, right? Climbing steeply up the side of the mountain, the trail follows Tumbledown Brook’s rocky carving, forcing you to clamber over glacial boulders, rocky tumbles, and staggering tree roots. Near the top, you’ll end up scrambling in a few points, but nothing too complicated. Just make sure you’re in relatively good shape before tackling this section.
When you scramble up the last rock outcropping, you’re immediately rewarded with a spectacular view of the tarn at Tumbledown. This alpine lake is a popular spot to sit and have lunch or take a quick dip in the cold waters (although I have it on good authority that the waters are less than pristine). The view is not mind blowing, but it’s enough to make you feel you kicked civilization to the curb with the rest of the trash.
The Brook Trail may be only 1.5 miles, but the steepness of the last .5 miles makes it a fun, challenging day hike that the whole family can enjoy. There are more challenging trails in the area as well, so if you find the Brook Trail too easy, take a trip over to the Loop Trail, Parker’s Ridge Trail, Tumbledown Ridge Trail, or Pond Link Trail.