Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hike CanCo Mountain

It's been a while since I've posted an inner-city wilderness tour here. So here, for your enjoyment, is a trail description for CanCo Mountain, also known as Rocky Hill, in the Deering neighborhood of Portland.

Begin your hike from the dead end on Quarry Road off of Read Street, near Morrill's Corner. Continuing around the fence and up the dirt road, you'll get your first view of the dramatic southern face of CanCo Mountain. Avoid the cliffs by climbing the rubble on the eastern end of the hill, then climbing the gentle ridge to the summit.

CanCo Mountain offers spectacular views of the City of Portland, Casco Bay, and, on clear days, the White Mountains. Below: the view over CMP's maintenance lot towards Back Cove.

The thin soils that cover over the granite in patches support a limited community of plants that thrive in dry, sandy soils: mostly red pine and blueberry, with some white pine. This type of forest is actually typical along much of Maine's rocky coast - so even though CanCo Mountain is two miles inland, the water views and the flora give it a nautical flair.

Also visible in the middle distance are some vestiges of Portland's twentieth-century industry. Chief among these is the big factory west of the summit, which was once the home of the American Can Company, Canco Road's namesake (Can Co – get it?). This was once the place where Maine's agricultural bounty arrived by rail to be packed into American Cans, then shipped forth on a nonperishable journey to the nation's grocery stores.

But not anymore. Fewer people eat Maine produce, and those who do certainly don't want it to come from a can. By the looks of it, the old factory is now some sort of warehouse.

CanCo Mountain also has two huge gouges cut into it - presumably the quarry for which the road was named. If any readers have any more information about the can factory or the quarry, please comment.


Jess said...

Great, go ahead, ruin one of Portland's treasures by letting your thousands of readers in on this fun little secret.

Elliott said...

Thanks - I will be one of those thousands to ruin this place ;)

Corey Templeton said...

Haha. Thanks for sharing!

Patrick Ian Banks said...

I'm a ruiner!

Gordon W.S. Lane said...

It wasn't but 10 years ago that, as teenagers, we had to get sneaky-sneaky to make it the top of Rocky Mtn without getting slapped with a summons for trespassing.

One of the local homeless can-collectors had a full-fledged camp up there too.

But it's not the blog that ruined the secret, Jess. It's Portland Trails.

We used to have a camouflaged fort out by the Presumpscot River, but Portland Trails led that its demise...