Hiking opportunities abound in the Western Maine Mountains and Lakes Region. Not all require stamina, but do offer oppportunities to stop and smell the flowers while considering previous uses of the land.
Lands owned by the Greater Lovell Land Trust are among these. The hour and a half round trip walk through the Chip Stockford Preserve and Ladies Delight Hill, owned by the Greater Lovell Land Trust (GLLT), is easy and well-shaded.
Along the way you may spot wildflowers including Heal-all, several varieties of Golden Rod, Bugleweed, Purple Steeplebush, Meadow Sweet, Yarrow, Indian Tobacco, Pilewort, Pearly Everlasting, Indian Pipe and Pine Sap. The latter two are abundant this year, but of all the GLLT preserves, Pine Sap only seems to grow at this one. On a recent visit we also found raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Besides the wildflowers and view of the lower bay of Kezar Lake from a lookout point and bench dedicated to Chapman "Chip" Stockford, a founding father of the GLLT, it's the folklore and history associated with the land that I find most fascinating.
I'd been told that perhaps the area was named Ladies Delight Hill because in the 1800s people would walk up to picnic. Possibly the women would get dressed up to enjoy a day out, a break from their farming duties.
Curious about that, I stopped into the Lovell Historical Society to see if they had any other information.
Marcia Storkerson, who has spent hours transcribing journals for the Society, and Catherine Stone, President, immediately came to my aid. While Marcia checked on journal information, Catherine handed me the book Blueberries and Pusley Weed: The Story of Lovell, Maine by Pauline W. Moore.
Of Ladies Delight, Ms. Moore wrote, " . . . overlooks South Bay . . . not named for the view. Nor because it made a delightful walk for ladies to take on a Sunday afternoon or because it was covered with wonderful blueberries . . . (It was) named in sarcasm because women who tried to live in two houses built there could not endure the loneliness and isolation."
As Marcia pointed out, "The bridge across The Narrows wasn't yet built, so the only way to get to the other side was walking across the ice."
She did know that the land was used for farming and Eldridge Gerry Kimball had purchased 200 acres on January 31, 1880 from Abraham E. Gray. Tenants lived on the land.
Various journal entries from the 1880s include driving cattle over to the Ladies Delight pasture, picking cranberries over by The Pond, as they called Kezar Lake, picking apples, driving sheep to pasutre, picking pears, mowing oats and trimming pines.
Today, all that remains of those activities are an old cellar hole and stone walls. The land by the lake was divided up and sold to individuals in the 1960s, but the hill has been preserved for all of us to enjoy.
Whether you take advantage of the weekly guided hikes during the summer season, or explore the properties on your own, I'm sure you'll discover that each offers something unique to behold.
Something else unique to behold in the Lovell area is lakefront property on Kezar Lake. Click on the box below to discover the possibilities!