Experience two seasons at once on Kingsbury Pond – late summer warmth combined with the soft golden light of early autumn. The northern shoreline has cottages along it, but for the most part the southern shoreline is undeveloped, featuring an unbroken line of evergreens and birch.

Once you get out into the open water from the Kingsbury boat launch – located about 30 miles south of Moosehead Lake and 9 miles east of Bingham – you will notice the massive white turbines of the Bingham Wind Farm along the ridgelines to the north. With 56 turbines this is currently the largest wind farm in New England, soon to be eclipsed by Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts. It was calm on the pond, but high on the ridge there was just enough wind to slowly move the blades.

Skinny trees – along with wind turbines on a distant hilltop – are reflected in the water. Christine Wolfe photo

Up on the lawn of a cottage a black lab was playing with a chew toy. Suddenly it rolled over onto its back and wiggled about in pure joy at an itch well massaged. My wife remarked that she hoped we would be as happy and content as that lab once we reached the end of our 4-hour exploration. We would be, courtesy of a smaller pond to the west of Kingsbury; Mayfield Pond. Except for a few scattered cottages Mayfield provides a wilderness experience. A narrow boulder-dotted channel connects the two ponds. Three pipe cleaner-like evergreens hung on for dear life on a narrow rocky point leading into Mayfield, casting their angled reflections onto the mirror-calm water.

We began our leisurely circumnavigation of the 140-acre pond. Vast mats of browning pickerelweed protruded out from the shoreline marsh grasses. Only a few weeks before they had been in full bloom with their blue flower spikes pointing skyward. We scanned the shoreline with our binoculars, finding a blue heron in the midst of a wide yawn perched on a downed tree. Near a large beaver lodge another heron stood resolute against a golden array of marsh grasses.

A significant beaver Lodge is on display in Mayfield Pond. Christine Wolfe photo

From the beaver lodge a winding channel leads a few hundred yards back into the forest. The pleasant sound of water flowing over a rocky stream bed announces that the turnaround point is near. This inlet stream flows down from the steep hills north of the pond.

The predominant flower of late September is the calico aster, its whorls of thin white petals peering out over the pond. Dense clusters of brilliant pink berries popped out of the shoreside greens. A few of the berries were turning blue, looking very much like small blueberries.


Much of the shoreline was lined with softball-sized rocks. They were so neatly positioned together that it appeared a local mason might have carefully placed them to create the best artistic effect. As we circled the pond and began paddling back toward the channel into Kingsbury, we stopped to rest on a conspicuous flat ledge a few yards out from shore. A quick rest turned into a 45-minute Vitamin D restoration session. Loon calls echoed from shore to shore.

A large flat ledge in Mayfield Pond is a perfect for a stop and a quick rest. Christine Wolfe photo

The clear blue morning sky was slowly being painted with mid-day cumulus clouds. It was time to take advantage of the freshening westerly breeze and get back into the canoe for an easy wind-assisted 3-mile paddle back to the boat launch. As I started to put my old paddling shoes back on I noticed that a white admiral butterfly had flown into one of my shoes. These handsome black butterflies with eye-catching white wing stripes eat decaying matter and moisture from damp sand. My shoes offered the perfect meal.

Consult the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (map No. 31) for help in getting to the public boat launch on Route 16, about 9 miles east of Bingham. The boat launch is located at the outlet dam at the eastern end of the pond. A scenic state rest area sits next to the launch site. It offers expansive views out over where you paddled, and is a convenient venue for a post-outing picnic.

Michael Perry is the former director of the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses, and schools. Contact: michaelj_perry@comcast.net

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