This township, officially known as T2 R10 WELS, is the crossroad of two major “highways” in Maine: The Golden Road and the Appalachian Trail. Both travel the Abol Bridge over the West Branch of the Penobscot River.
The Golden Road
From east of Millinocket, the road crosses the Abol Bridge and follows the West Branch of the Penobscot west.
Horserace Brook Campground and boat launch is at the far west of the township, providing access to the river and views of the mountains.
ABOL BRIDGE TO RAINBOW LEDGES
This township features seven ponds and the Abol Falls on the West Branch of the Penobscot River just below the Abol Bridge.
The Rainbow Ledges lie 5.8 miles southeast of Abol Bridge over the West Branch of the Penobscot River on the Golden Road. This section is part of the “100 mile wilderness” portion of the trail that has its eastern terminus in Monson. That full hike requires careful preparation and experience, as the sign at right warns.
However, the easy day hike from the Bridge to the Ledges offers scenic views, moderate elevation changes, and a great picnic site before returning.
Blueberries abound and a hiker rests on the Rainbow Ledges. The views below of Mount Katahdin and other mountains to the west are a reward to savor along with the berries.
Mount Katahdin from the Rainbow Ledges on the Appalachian Trail Western mountain range from the Rainbow Ledges.
Hurd Brook links Little Hurd Pond to the north and the much larger Hurd Pond to the south, both off the Appalachian Trail. The Hurd Brook Lean-to lies on the stream between the ponds.
The West Branch
The West Branch of the Penobscot River runs west to east across the northern portion of the township for about six miles. Below Nesowadnehunk Falls and above Abol Falls the river offers a fine opportunity for a leisurely float on raft or canoe. It has been an attraction for vacationers and “sports”, including Henry David Thoreau, since the early 19th century. “Men and women eating breakfast off wooden barrels in front of tents,” describes this 1885 photo from the Library of Congress.
At Abol Falls:
Appalachian Trail photos, August 6, 2005; Golden Road photos, May 28, 2012.
Kirkbride, Joseph John, 1842-1899, photographer. “Breakfast in camp – West Branch, Penobscot, Maine – Sept. 5th 85.” Library of Congress ID#: LC-USZ62-34544. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/95514486/ (accessed December 13, 2017)