Exploring the Katahdin Woods and Waters Seboeis Parcel

It’s been a long two years since I’ve written a blog post. Amazing!

There is one good explanation. In the spring of 2021, I began writing a monthly column for the Northwoods Sporting Journal. My articles for “View from the River” are varied, covering paddling, wildlife, wilderness places, and even book reviews. The discipline of a deadline has been motivating and the writing itself rewarding. But with summer here, I want to blog, too.

Today, my parents and I explored the national monument parcel that lies south of Shin Pond. Not long after passing the monument boundary on the well-maintained American Thread Road, we had our first view of the mountains.

About a mile in was a sign for the Kimball Deadwater. Down the short trail shone the unmistakable brightness of water. Here was a place where I would like to return one early morning with my canoe. It looked moosey, and perhaps a half-mile long on the map.

Kimball Deadwater

The wildflowers along the roadsides were stunning in their sheer quantity. Our field guide yielded new discoveries: pink ragged-robin and large displays of yellow king devil, which looks much like orange hawkweed.

King devil

The large flowers and leaves of cow-parsnip gave us quite a scare. I was sure I’d seen the flower before, but Dad pointed out that it looked remarkably similar to giant hogweed. In the Adirondacks, we’d seen posters warning about this very toxic invasive plant. Its sap causes a dangerous skin reaction and even blindness if it gets in the eyes.

As it turns out, the two are closely related, in the same genus. Giant hogweed can get twice as large as cow parsnip (14 feet tall) and has stems mottled with red, while those of cow-parsnip are solid green. I am going to give cow-parsnip a wide berth as well, after learning that it can also cause a milder irritation.


We saw both a spruce grouse and this ruffed grouse with two chicks, rounding out a drive that left us wanting to return to this quiet part of the monument.

8 thoughts on “Exploring the Katahdin Woods and Waters Seboeis Parcel”

  1. Hi it looks beautiful. what gorgeous photos. It must have been rewarding to see such beauty of Gods. handiwork. The flowers are lovely. What marvelous memories for your parents. I love to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We all say hello back to you and Gordon. After two years, I was not at all sure who would be out there reading, but here you are. Thanks for the comment and all the best to you both, Laurie


  3. So wonderful to have received your blog. I was very interested to read about your visit to Maine’s National Monument! So enjoyed your photos. Dick and I retired to Colorado five years ago and live at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. We travel to as many NPS sites as we can each year. Look forward to your next blog.
    Sonia Clime

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sonia, a fun surprise to hear from you and to know where your adventurous spirits have taken you! One of these years I am going to head west with the intent of checking out the stunning variety of state and national parks. Take care and all my best to you and Dick, Laurie


  4. What a beautiful day to have shared with your folks! I like how you said you thought it looked ‘moosey!’ It sure does. And ‘turtley!’ Around here we have had the problem of the yellow poison parsnip, another relative of hogweed and cow parsnip. I understand the root is edible. But how to get to it without getting leaf and stem juice on your hands—right?

    Liked by 1 person

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