With my wife in China and my oldest daughter staying at a friend’s camp at Duck Pond, I found myself with a (mostly) empty house. I took it as an opportunity to bring my youngest daughter camping.
The forecast wasn’t great. It looked to be overcast and drizzly for the evening. Nonetheless, we decided to hike into Schoodic Beach at Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land in Franklin, Maine.
The sandy beach is located at the southern end of Donnell Pond; it’s an easy .5 mile walk in from the parking area. Not far, but it presented a good opportunity to put a frame pack on my daughter’s back and have her carry her own sleeping bag.
The beach is nestled in between two mountains offering decent day hikes—Schoodic Mountain and Black Mountain. Camping on the beach is free and first-come, first-served. It consists mostly of open sites along the beach, but there are a few wooded sites as well featuring fire pits and picnic tables. Trails leave from both ends of the beach up to Schoodic and Black mountains, respectively. I’ve hiked both of them before, and we eschewed hiking them on this trip due to the weather.
The early evening was indeed overcast and drizzly. We made camp and busied ourselves when the first rays of the sun started peeking through the clouds. Within an hour, the sun had burned off a good portion of the haze, leaving some lonely clouds to roll off the top of Schoodic Mountain. It ended up being a beautiful evening with a remarkable sunset.
The next day, we swam for a bit before breaking camp and heading back home.
There are some other campsites located around the perimeter of Donnell Pond that require a boat and/or hiking the Black Mountain trails to get to. I haven’t visited them, but it’s something I plan to do in the future.