Canoeing in Maine: Trickey Pond in Naples offers crystal clear water
There are many enticing reasons to explore Maine’s waters by canoe. One that is often overlooked is water clarity. Add this to your “where to paddle” criteria and head to Trickey Pond in Naples. We were amazed by the translucency of the water. We felt like we were paddling along the mythical north shore of Lake Superior.
As we left the boat ramp at the south end of the pond and headed north along the eastern shore, underwater white pipes rose from the shallow waters towards the shore. . Plumbing pipes? No, they were fallen birch trees sitting on the bottom, their images magnified by the clear water, providing zebra stripes beneath our canoe. It was a first.
Why is the water so clear? The pond is spring fed and there are no streams that flow into the lake bringing degrading nutrients and runoff from the surrounding communities. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection gives Trickey Pond its highest water quality designation – incredible for a body of water located in the densely populated Portland-Bridgton Corridor.
The pond is one and a half miles long and half a mile wide. Many towering white pines and spreading hemlocks lean over the water, providing cooling shade. Ahead we saw the docks and inflatable water slides of Camp Skylemar, providing lasting memories of summer for young people since 1948. It was delightful to sit in our canoe listening to the sounds of a joy unbridled as one cannonball acrobat followed another. It took us decades back to our own summer camp experiences. Without a doubt, I was the worst basketball player to ever attend Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy’s Camp Graylag in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. Thank goodness they had an arts and crafts building where I could hide most of the time.
We spent three hours snooping around in the early afternoon, with most of our time spent at the quiet north end of the pond, just beyond the cluster of boats and campsites at Loon’s Family Campground. haven. This secluded northern lagoon includes the only two islands in the pond and offers pleasant swimming from shore ledges and sheltered shallows. Two guys were fly fishing from their kayaks between the islands, one of them excitedly landing a speckled trout and letting the whole pond know of his good fortune.
We tied our canoe to a snag and walked in the water along the shore taking photos of artistic underwater rock mosaics and rotting stumps resembling small moose antlers. In deeper water we could see many snails clinging to the rocks.
Clusters of ripening blueberries dotted the shore, along with the nodules of round button green seeds. A scattering of the skewer’s blue flower heads swayed gently in the light southern breeze. A loon cry seeped into the lagoon from the middle of the pond. Wispy clouds played with the treetops on the western edge of the pond.
The west shore of the pond is lined with cottages beginning a quarter mile below the outlet creek at the north end of the pond. There is an impressive cliff dotted with rustic pines just before the chalets start. It seems that a lot of children go to this place to swim in the deeper waters of the cliffs. From there we paddled out to the wilder eastern side of the pond and back to the boat launch to wrap up a perfect summer afternoon of paddling and swimming.
Consult the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (Map #4) to help you get to the boat launch on Route 114 in Naples, a few miles south of Route 302 and Songo Queen River. The pond sees a lot of boaters pass by during the summer. If you can squeeze in during the work week, you’ll have less activity. Sunday morning is also a good option.
Michael Perry is the former principal of LL Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor tobogganing programs for civic groups, businesses and schools. Contact: [email protected]
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