I needed a hike, so the nice lady at the check-in station gave me a handout about Magic Falls. Magic Falls is a major rapid in the Kennebec River Gorge downstream from the dam and a spot apparently well known in the rafting world as a likely place to capsize.
The directions, in typical Mainer lingo, read in part:
"To get to Magic, turn right at the crossroads before the first bridge, there is a small camp at the corner. At 5.6 miles, you pass a bog on your left ... Cross the bridge over Carry Brook, and park off the road near the snowmobile trail sign. Take the trail marked by the snowmobile sign, to the right."
the first bridge???
" Only in Maine. Known as a cabin anywhere else.
" Not marked.
" None that I saw.
you have the urge to burn off a couple of hours hiking, follow my
directions: From Indian Pond, backtrack down the road about 3 miles to Takeout Road (marked, cabin on the corner) and turn right (toward the river, duh). Follow it until you reach the end (a turnaround for the buses picking up rafters from the takeout point there - check it out), turn around yourself and head back. 1/4 mile later, cross a little bridge, and a couple of hundred yards after that, park in the open space on the left where there's a trail going straight back into the woods, paralleling the river:
Walk/hike for about 2 miles / 45 minutes. I saw lots of these:
and lots of (very fresh!) this:
but despite being on the lookout, I never did see any moose on the trail. But you might!
The trail itself had plenty of muddy spots. This one was particularly fun to march through:
(So if you do this, be sure to have good hiking boots with waterproof lowers.)
The trail descends steeply down to the river at the end, where there are some rocks you can stand on and observe the "falls."
(I have some short video of this, but it didn't seem to want to load.)
The larger waves were about ten feet tall between trough and peak. I certainly wouldn't want to do this in a canoe (!) but it might be a blast in a raft!
Another place to visit (and one that requires less effort) is Moxie Falls, a waterfall on the Moxie River that feeds into the Kennebec from Lake Moxie. Go back to Lake Moxie and the paved road and continue back towards The Forks. You'll see a sign on the right for Moxie Falls Scenic Area or something like that. Park and hike down (easy path), about 3/4 mile each way.
You'll see the river coming down to the falls first. In this photo, it looks like a tiny placid burbling stream, but it's a good 100 feet wide:
Moxie Falls itself, slightly further down, looks like this. For scale, note the people standing on a viewing platform in the upper right corner of the picture.
It's "only" a 90-foot drop, but there's a serious amount of water going over it, at least in the spring.
So there you have it.
One last thing.
This is less than an hour's worth of riding up in that area this time of year:
Bring lots of Windex and paper towels!