Camden Hills State Park overlooks the Penobscot Bay in Camden, Maine. The park was created in the 1930s by the National Park Service. Stretching over five thousand acres, the area is known for Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook. The area is also popular for thirty miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hunting, camping, lakes, and picnicking.
Mount Battie is most known for the plaque, commemorating the poem written by Edna St. Vincent Millay called “Renascence”. A plaque at the peak reads, “All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and a wood; I turned and looked another way, and saw three islands in a bay.” Unfortunately, the Mount is also known for being a place where the Ku Klux Klan assembled.
Mount Megunticook is another large mountain peak in Camden Hills State Park. Mount Megunticook is visited by tourists from all over the country to catch a glimpse of the famous Maiden’s Cliff Trail. The trail is a sacred commemorative to a young girl who lost her life much too soon. At the time, it was unexpected that her short life would leave such a lasting impression on the area.
On May 7, 1864, a young girl, Elenora French, followed her church congregation on a small trip around the countryside. Intrigued by the tall peaks of Mount Megunticook, the group, including Elenora, decided to climb to the top to take in the beautiful views. They all safely reached the top and were rewarded for their efforts by the breathtaking sights before them. While they were exploring, a wind took up and the twelve year old girl’s hat was taken in the breeze. Determined to catch it, she attempted to scale the rocks. No one even realized she had gone until they heard her screams. When they realized what had happened, it was too late.
Elenora French plummeted over three hundred feet to the rocks below. They were able to get her out and were astounded that she was still alive. Unfortunately, before they could leave the peak, she died of what was later estimated to be severe internal injuries. A cross was erected at the site to honor her short life. Unfortunately, the cross meant to commemorate Elenora’s life would meet tragic ends of its own.
In 1947, the original cross was replaced. It blew down again in 1980. After so many efforts they decided to rebuild the cross entirely. This time, they erected a six hundred pound cross as the fourth attempt. They enlisted the help of the National Guard to get the cross into position and secured into the mountain. Unfortunately, in 1988, despite their efforts, vandals toppled the cross. It was again righted, this time by the Fire Department and Parks and Recreation. A final repair effort was made in 1992 when the southern arm was broken and left dangling. The final repair included a strong epoxy to weather the elements.
The cross is not the only lingering issue for the mountain. Visitors report feelings of overwhelming grief and sadness after getting near the peak of the Maiden’s Cliff. People report seeing the apparition of a hat and sometimes even the young girl, chasing it and then tumbling off the cliff. A white mist perpetually hovers over the area and often carries the screams sometimes heard as Elenora plummets to her death time and time again.