Humans need nature. This shouldn’t come as any startling revelation, but still time spent outdoors decreases every year. Many of us are so wrapped up in our computers, TVs, video games and other devices that we’ve forgotten this. But our bodies remember, and they crave nature. Things have gotten so out of control that there are now researchers who study the effects of nature on humans, and doctors who have taken to prescribing nature, or daily walks outside to their patients!
Nature is the best medicine and should be taken daily, and no, driving with the windows down doesn’t count! How much nature you need and at what level varies by person, but I think the Nature Pyramid provides some food for thought. I tend to agree with the lower tiers of the pyramid, but disagree with the higher tiers. In an ideal world, perhaps, I’d be visiting different national parks each month, and a different international local every year, but real world problems prevent that from happening.
Fortunately, we’re blessed by countless opportunities to explore nature in the state of Maine and in Washington County. Weekly exploration of regional places is a worthwhile goal for all of us.
I keep a nature journal. This is something that forces me to stop and spend awhile studying an object or view. I first became interested in keeping a nature journal after seeing the work of Maria Coryell-Martin (link to expeditionaryart.com/blog/). My sketches may not be masterpieces, but I like that they allow me to spend time in nature doing something I love.
The summer season is upon us and I’d like to share with you a hike that picnickers and view seekers have been doing for generations: Pigeon Hill in Steuben. Pigeon Hill is 317 feet at the summit and is the highest coastal property in Washington County. The summit affords beautiful panoramic views of Greater Pleasant Bay to the east and Cadillac Mountain, Tunk Mountain and more to the west.
The trail system is not long, a 1.2 mile figure-eight loop allows hikers to reach the summit and return without retracing their steps. I choose to hike the Historic Trail to the summit and return via the Summit Loop Trail and the Silver Mine Trail. The top is a perfect spot for a picnic or snack. It’s easy to lose track of time and let your cares blow away in the breeze when you’re at the top of Pigeon Hill.
It’s a windy day when I’m there, and the waves crash onto rocks and other breaks in the ocean, creating large splashes. I could sit for hours watching the waves. On a summer day its fun to watch the lobster boats circle around on their missions, the ocean dotted with buoys as far as you can see.
Pigeon Hill is easy to find. From Milbridge, drive South on U.S. Route 1 about 2.2 miles. Turn left on Pigeon Hill Road. Drive about 4.5 miles to the parking area on your right, opposite an old cemetery.
The Pigeon Hill Preserve was made possible by generous public, private and Land for Maine’s Future support of the Summit, Forest & Seacoast Campaign in 2007 and 2008. Downeast Coastal Conservancy maintains and protects the Pigeon Hill Preserve and also works collaboratively with other land owners to protect other land in coastal Washington County from Steuben to Lubec and up to Calais and Route 9.