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The Hills to Sea Trail is familiar to most residents of Waldo County. Beginning in downtown Unity and winding its way through Knox, Freedom, Montville, Morrill and Waldo before terminating at the Atlantic Ocean in Belfast Harbor, the trail is an iconic part of the county.

When the Hills to Sea Trail is combined with adjoining trails, such as the Hidden Knoll Loop and Northern Headwater Trail, its length totals 85 miles, making it the third-largest footpath in the state of Maine, after the Appalachian Trail and the International Appalachian Trail.

The Hills to Sea Trail runs along many smaller paths such as Goosepecker Ridge Trail, and over the property of more than 60 landowners, including my family’s property. I often hike along the trail myself, almost always the section directly accessible from my house.

Back in April 2020, over a year before I began writing this column, my father and I decided to hike the trail in its entirety. We figured that we could break the 50-mile hike into three days.  The first segment began where the trail does in downtown Unity, and ended at our house. The second began at our house, summiting both Hogback and Frye mountains, and ended where the trail intersects Route 220.  The third started where we had left off the day before and ended at Belfast Harbor.

After a few weeks of planning and training, the hike was under way. On the first day, my mother accompanied my father and me on the trail. We drove from our house to Unity, where we began hiking at around 7 in the morning. The trail starts on a bridge, which brings you onto Unity College campus. The trail then enters the forest and continues on toward Quaker Hill Road.

Later on you cross Sandy Stream, which in April was waist-high, but is much lower and can be crossed on conveniently placed rocks in the summertime. Not long after the stream, the trail reaches the MOFGA fairgrounds. Eventually the trail crosses through downtown Freedom.

After another spell in the woods, the trail comes out on Freedom Pond Road in Montville. My grandfather, brother and dog met us here for the final stretch back to our house. When we finally finished the first day, we had been hiking for about 12 hours and covered 21 miles.

I will cover the first and second days of the hike in my next column.

Notices

Reminder from the Montville tax collector, unpaid taxes for the first half of 2022 will start to accrue interest on Sept. 30.

The Liberty Library is hosting three more printmaking classes in October on the 17th, 24th and 31st. Enrollment will be limited to eight participants, so contact the library in advance.

They are also hosting a Zoom meeting on Maine Turtles on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., hosted by the Center for Wildlife. You can learn about their lifestyles and even meet ambassador turtles.

Congratulations to the UARRC, which had its busiest-ever week  Sept. 6-10. They served 207 customers during that time!