Monday, September 27, 2010

Camping in Fall: Sebago Lake State Park

This weekend, Chris and I decided to break in the new pop-up that my mother and I split the costs on. We were waiting on getting a hitch installed on my truck, which for some ridiculous reason took weeks.

We head up to one of my favorite places in the world: Sebago Lake State Park, Maine. We brought the camera and spent a lot of time just taking pictures and relaxing.

I don't know if I am alone in wondering what campgrounds are like outside of the camping season. Sometimes, on cold winter nights when snow is expected, I think of what the picnic tables look like in the barren campground in Maine.

We got an idea of it when we went camping this weekend. Sebago Lake State Park is open between Labor Day and Columbus Day, but on a limited basis. Only Witch Cove is open, which has mostly hook-up sites for campers and trailers. I was concerned about getting there so late on a Friday evening since leaf-peeping season is coming up. I had nothing to worry about.

Here's a few notes for anyone who is ever considering camping at Sebago Lake after Labor Day. I was surprised to learn these things, actually:
  • Rangers are few and far between, so good luck finding one. The Ranger Station was completely unoccupied the entire time we were there, both day and night. 
  • You cannot make reservations - everything is first come, first serve. Get there early to claim your favorite Witch Cove site!
  • Camping becomes self-serve; You pay $26.75 (as an out-of-stater anyways) per night in either cash or check form. I had to go to an ATM in Windham in the middle of the night to complete the payment. You fill out a little payment envelope and put your money into a little cylinder, like most self-serve campgrounds.
  • ALL of the Naples section of the campground is closed down with road blocks. You can walk in there without any problem, but there's no camping allowed despite the presence of the campground hosts. (Yes, some are still camping in an empty section of the campground)
  • The bathrooms in the closed-down sections are also closed. If you go for a walk and need to pee, you have to hoof it back to Witch Cove.
  • The walk-in sites are also closed. It was irritating to see a young couple take a site next to us, only to park there while they walked up to the walk-ins and camp on the walk-in sites. 
There are far fewer children and many more old people who are presumably retired and just camping out in trailers. There are very few tent campers, but there's plenty of room - I would say maybe 1 in 10 sites were occupied in all of Witch's Cove. It seemed the majority of folks gathered near the water's edge where they could.

It's a lot more quiet and a lot stranger than what you'd experience in the summer, but truly relaxing. You have full access to the park, with the exception of the facilities in the closed-down sections. There aren't a million kids scribbling graffiti all over the bathroom stalls or even that baby that wakes everyone in the park up at 3am. It's just pure, unadulterated bliss. 


ImplausibleYarn said...

so when you said you were in Maine this weekend, you really meant it! I love off season anything really, its somehow more fun.

urban muser said...

my M-I-L has a tiny cabin on little sebago lake. i love it there.