Know Maine? Go Maine! Take our autumn quiz and then hit the road to outstanding Maine

Sure, you know Maine.

You've swigged Moxie. You've shopped L.L.Bean at midnight because you could. You've read "The Shining." Twice.

We still think there's enough Maine out there, plenty of elusive Pine Tree State facts that you may not know. They may just make you the hero of your next dinner party. And be the impetus for your inaugural Annual Autumn Quiz Road Trip.

Go ahead, give our test a shot, Mr. Hero and Ms. Road Warrior. And then use our detailed answers as your guide to some of Maine's most exceptional places.

1. Name the richest place in Maine:

1) Cape Elizabeth

2) Bar Harbor

3) Cousins Island

2. How much did the largest moose shot in Maine weigh?

1) 857 pounds

2) 1,330 pounds

3) 1,545 pounds

3. One of Maine's tallest mountains that you've probably never heard of?

1) Little Lemon (ironically named, of course)

2) North Brother

3) Robert's Ridge

4. When did fall leaf peepers first peep Maine, officially?

1) After 1885, when an announcer made the first-ever reference to leaf peeping during a World Series playoff game (technically an exhibition game at the time).

2) After 1905, when L.L.Bean ran a plaid shirt promotion inviting visitors to "peep our leaves and partake of our woods."

3) After 1925, when an industrious New Jersey salesman organized the first New England foliage trip in a Studebaker for $69 a person.

5. Maine has a gnarly pothole on display at the Smithsonian.

1) True

2) False

6. What is the official Maine state dessert?

1) Whoopie pie

2) Blueberry pie

3) Strawberry-rhubarb pie

7. Name the tallest waterfall in Maine:

1) Katahdin Falls

2) Allagash Falls

3) No Man's Falls

8. The two black bears at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray — one 200 pounds, the other 450 pounds —  are a mama bear and baby bear.

1) True

2) False

9. What is Maine's deepest lake?

1) Moosehead Lake

2) Norway Lake

3) Sebago Lake

10. What's holding the precariously balanced Bubble Rock in place at Acadia National Park?

1) Three discreetly placed steel bolts, first secured in 1972 (can't have the rock falling on visitors, after all)

2) Gravity

3) Luck

***********************

Answers:

1. Wealthiest place?

3) Cousins Island. According to the American Community Survey, the median household income there is $102,639.

Now go: Road trip! Cousins Island, actually a part of Yarmouth, is accessible by the Cousins Island Bridge. And, should you be in the market, there's a $1.62 million, 6,908-square-foot "shingle-style cottage" for sale right now. It's probably cool to drive by and dream.

2. Biggest moose?

2) 1,330 pounds, according to records kept by The Maine Sportsman. It was shot in Masardis, up in Aroostook County, in 1982 by Willard Waterman of New Gloucester. For a size comparison, the two live moose at the Maine Wildlife Park weigh about 800 pounds.

Now go: To Moosehead Lake! (Bonus fun fact: It's the largest lake in the state at 117 square miles, says the Maine Geological Survey.)

The Moosehead Lake Region Chamber of Commerce claims the area has one person for every three moose. You'll find a moose-sighting handout, with the best places to cruise for moose, at its visitors center.

3. Tallest unheralded mountain?

2) North Brother. According to the Maine Geological Survey, it's the sixth highest peak in Maine at 4,143 feet above sea level and found in Baxter State Park. The others, in order: Katahdin (5,267), Sugarloaf (4,237), Old Speck (4,180), Crocker (4,168), Bigelow (4,150).

Now go: To Baxter State Park, a roughly three-hour drive from Lewiston-Auburn. Consult a detailed map and guidebook before setting out to climb North Brother, and prepare for the possibility of not seeing another soul on the way up or down.

"It's a long 8-hour round trip," said Park Naturalist Jean Hoekwater. "Very demanding, and very, very beautiful."

4. First official leaf-peeping trip?

3) After 1925. Many thanks to Yankee Magazine for sharing that fact. (Yankee, in case you want to drop another gem at your dinner party, has written a fall foliage cover story 34 years in a row.)

Arthur Tauck was a 27 years old New Jersey salesman when he dreamed up the idea for a fall foliage tour. The Pine Tree state wasn't on the travel log that first summer, but, "I have every confidence that within a few short years Arthur had added both Maine and fall foliage itineraries to his portfolio of early tours," said Tauck tours spokesman Tom Armstrong.

Now go: Up north, my friend. According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's latest Fall Foliage Report, the northern half of the state has up to 50 percent change-over already.

5. Pothole in the Smithsonian?

1) True, but it's not that kind of pothole. Naturally occurring, 3 feet deep and very carefully drilled out of the ground, it's called the Riggsville Pothole and originally came from Georgetown. It now makes its home at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Now go: Up Route 26 to Newry. That's right, not Georgetown. Robert Marvinney, state geologist at the Maine Geological Survey, said potholes can be spotted in person at Screw Auger Falls in Newry, at Grafton Notch State Park.

"They're caused by plunging water and gravel and sentiment at the bottom of the stream just being in a small whirlpool and grinding away at the rock ledge below," said Marvinney. "Over time that will just drill this opening right down into the ledge."

The potholes should be visible from the main overview at Screw Auger Falls. The park is open year-round but only staffed through Oct. 15.

Marvinney isn't sure which came first, the rock formation or the roadway hazard. "I think it's really driven by the shape in both cases, having a round circular opening with rounded bottom."

6. Official Maine state dessert?

2) Blueberry pie. When a proposal to make the whoopie pie the state dessert went before the Legislature in 2011, whoopie was shut out in favor of wild blueberries. Whoopies are instead the official "state treat."

Now go: To Washington County, home to Maine's wild blueberry barrens.

"These large glacial, washed-out plains . . . are very sandy, gravely soils and they're kind of relatively flat places in the landscape," said David Bell, executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine.

Wild blueberry crops are on a two-year cycle, the prune year and the crop year. As you drive by in fall after some good frosts, Bell said you'll recognize plants in a prune year by their brilliant orange-red leaves.

As for the pie itself, word is you can get some decent — decent as in "really good" — pie at Helen's Restaurant in Machias and Ellsworth, and at the Bluebird Ranch Restaurant also in Machias. Bye-bye autumn blues.

7. Tallest waterfall in Maine?

1) Katahdin Falls, though let us say very quickly that the answer isn't so cut and dry. The Maine Geological Survey doesn't keep waterfall records and the Baxter State Park staff are busy hosting thousands of visitors, thank you very much, and do not have time to dangle a ruler off a remote ledge.

So for an authority we turned to Dean Goss at NewEnglandWaterfalls.com, who puts Katahdin Falls at 800 feet high, judging by topographical maps.

"Katahdin Falls was originally a whispered rumor I'd heard from a couple of old fart Mt. Katahdin hikers," said Goss. "They told me the 'real' Katahdin Falls is well upstream of Katahdin Stream Falls. The visible part of the falls is roughly 280 feet in height and there are a long continuous series of cascades above it."

Now go: To Baxter State Park, again. But, here's the catch: Trekking to these incredibly remote falls isn't recommended.

"The terrain off-trail on the flanks of Katahdin is notoriously treacherous and rescues can take an agonizing amount of time for the injured," said Park Naturalist Jean Hoekwater, who, for that reason, declined to give directions.

Still feeling adventurous? Check out the still tall but more modest 80-foot Katahdin Stream Falls. It's a 1.2-mile hike up the Hunt (AT) Trail from Katahdin Stream Campground, according to Hoekwater. Enjoy the scenic views, she says, but please use the restrooms at the campground first.

8. Mama and baby bear?

2) False. Maine Wildlife Park Superintendent Curt Johnson said the smaller bear is female and a standard Maine black bear. The larger is a male black bear, but not a Maine black bear — he's actually from away.

He's also in the "cinnamon phase" of colors, hence his slightly shaggy, reddish mop.

Now go: To the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. It's open daily until Nov. 11. Bring quarters to feed the bears. From the food machines; bears don't eat quarters, naturally.

9. Maine's deepest lake?

3) Sebago Lake, by, well, not quite a mile. The lake is 316 feet deep and 49 feet below sea level, according to the Maine Geological Survey. VisitSebagoLake.com says it holds almost a trillion gallons of water. It also contains several wrecked airplanes in its depths.

Now go: To Sebago Lake State Park. Camping in the park this time of year is first-come, first-served. Campground reservations for next year open on Feb. 3 at 9 a.m.

10. Reason for Bubble Rock's rock-steadiness?

2) Gravity. It's estimated to weigh more than 100 tons and, basically, so darn heavy it keeps itself in place, said Supervisor/Park Ranger Betty Lyle.

She said Bubble Rock is a "glacial erratic" that ended up perched on top of South Bubble as the glaciers receded, and matches rock 30 miles up the road in Lucerne.

"I'm sure everybody has tried to push that rock," said Lyle. (Just look online; they pretty much have.) "It's fine that people do that, (but) if you think about it, it's kind of a destructive mentality."

Her preference is to leave it be. The rock used to have lots of vegetation around it, since stomped down by showboats.

Were it to someday tumble, it would hit the trail and maybe the parking lot and road below, depending on roll.

Now go: To Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. It's best to approach Bubble Rock from the north side of the South Bubble trail. Lyle said it's about a one-mile moderate hike. The park visitor's center is open until Oct. 31 and the Loop Road is open until Dec. 1, though it might close sooner if the snow flies.

And if you know Maine, you know that can happen.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

bonus question

what i really want to know is why the Natonal Park changed the name of Bubble Rock from its originl name? (and the bonus question is what it was called up util that name change in the 90s?) more trivia:Jordan Pond House used to have a couple of binoculars (the kind on a base that you had to put a dime in to use) for viewing the rock while you wait for your pop-overs and tea.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...