6 Safe Driving Tips In Ellsworth Maine
Ellsworth is one of Maine’s fastest growing cities, with a land mass of over 79 square miles the potential for greater development is possible. Ellsworth has seen consistent growth and development over the last years.This progress has produced an increase in traffic and traffic related accidents. So how do you stay safe on Ellsworth’s streets and roads? Follow these six safe driving tips to avoid traffic accidents.
#1 Safe Driving Tip: Distracted Driving Numbers Rise
Stay alert, put away the distractions. Things like cell phones, umpiring the argument in the backseat, checking your hair or putting on makeup while driving, all lead to your attention being on something other than the road. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. If the distraction demands your attention, pull off the road, deal with the situation before you continue driving. Being distracted is the leading cause of traffic accidents.
#2 Safe Driving Tip: Safe Travel Distances
Space, space can save lives. Leaving enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you can make a huge difference when avoiding a traffic accident. The average person requires 0.25 seconds to react to a situation. The few extra seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, allows you the time to react and avoid a collision.
#3 Safe Driving Tip: Looking Ahead
Looking ahead and not just at what’s immediately in front of you is a great defensive driving skill. Watch three or four cars ahead of you for telltale signs of brake lights or upcoming turns. Seeing the whole picture of what’s going on around you can help you make better driving decisions. This forewarning of traffic changes will help you safely navigate the roads.
#4 Safe Driving Tip: Enter and Exit Safely
When entering traffic flow or crossing lanes to exit the road, be aware of the speed vehicles are traveling. Allow enough time for you to enter or exit the highway safely without hesitation. When in doubt don’t pull out! Intersections create their own hazard zones. Expect the unexpected when approaching an intersection and slow down. Racing the yellow light to make it through the intersection can turn into a bad situation quickly.
#5 Safe Driving Tip: Safe Speed For Current Road Conditions
Speed plays an important role in safety. When the road conditions are less than optimal, slow down. Water, snow, wet leaves, dense fog and other road conditions warrant slowing your speed. Hydroplaning on a wet road can be avoided easily with a reduction in speed. No matter how good your tires are if you are going too fast on wet roads your tires will lose traction causing you to hydroplane out of control.
#6 Safe Driving Tip: Proper Two Way Turning Lane Usage
Ellsworth now has several two way turning lanes aka suicide lanes. These were designed to help traffic flow, they are not passing lanes. How do they work? When a motorist has to cross over the oncoming traffic lane they can safely move into the two way turning lane allowing the traffic behind them to continue and allowing them the freedom to wait for an appropriate break in the flow of oncoming traffic to cross safely. Using the lane inappropriately is dangerous. Not using this designated lane to turn but dashing across all the lanes can result in a collision. Using it to pass a slow motorist is an inappropriate use of the two way turn lane! If a motorist pulls into the lane and leaves the back half of their vehicle in the travel lane it becomes a huge target for an accident.
Proper Use of Two Way Turning Lane Explained
The proper way to use the two way turn lane is to turn into the lane before your exit point keeping all of your vehicle in the two way turning lane, allowing traffic to keep flowing on either side of your vehicle. This can help you when you need to cross a lane to enter traffic flow. First, pull across the first lane of traffic into the two way turn lane. Next, wait for a break to pull into the flow of the traffic headed in the direction you need to go. Therefore, saving you the time and risk of waiting for traffic to be clear in both directions then shooting across to the correct lane. In other words, if used properly the two way turn lane is the safest option for entering or exiting the road.
There are hundreds of scenarios that can arise on a drive from being caught in another driver’s blind spot during a lane change, to having the sun obliterate your vision. Each one has the potential to end in a collision. What you do and how you react will alter that possibility. Being alert at all times is your number one defense against a tragedy. Be aware of what is happening ahead of you on the road. Drive like everyone else on the road is on their maiden voyage with a learners permit. Becoming complacent and thinking everyone has driving skills and road manners like you do is a big mistake. Ellsworth is a fast growing community with increased traffic possibilities for years to come, so stay alert and be safe.
10 Largest Waterfalls in Maine
Maine sports over 425 mapped waterfalls, so how do you decide which ones to visit? The highest falls come in with a staggering 90 foot drop. Some of Maine’s popular waterfalls are easily accessible and others require a hike to enjoy. No matter your skill level you can access some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Maine. Top on the list is Angel Falls with it’s stunning 90 foot drop over a set of plunging tiers through 115 foot cliffs. Not to be rivaled by Moxie Falls rated as Maine’s tallest waterfall with a straight 90 foot plunge into a 17 foot pool at the base. The sound of rushing water draws people from everywhere for the spectacular views and cool pools, often great swimming spots on a hot summer day. Following is a list of the 10 most popular waterfalls in Maine.
Top 3 Waterfalls by Height
#1: Angel Falls located in Franklin County on Mountain Brook near Houghton, Maine in Township D. The 90 foot drop through a set of tiers which causes the water to fan out like angel wings. Angel Falls is easily accessible by taking Route 17 North from Mexico, Maine to the Bemis Road. Travel 3.6 miles on Bemis Road and look for a logging road that goes left and down a hill. The main parking is at the bottom of the hill. The hike into Angel Falls takes about 30 minutes at a distance of 0.8 miles. The hike is rated as easy to moderate on a family friendly trail.
#2: Moxie Falls located in Somerset County on Moxie Stream near West Forks, Maine. Moxie Falls is another stunning 90ft falls with a 17ft pool at the base. It’s a moderate 1 mile hike into Moxie Falls which includes bridges, boardwalks and stairs to access the breathtaking views of Moxie Falls. Just outside the small village of The Forks turn onto Moxie Pond Road (A.K.A. Moxie Lake Road) go 2.3 miles past the rest stop to the parking at the trailhead. The trail is marked and has several observation points to enjoy the falls and the surrounding beauty!
#3 Lower Dunn Falls located in Oxford County on the West Branch of the Ellis River near Andover North Surplus. Lower Dunn Falls is a plunge falls at an 80 foot drop. Part of this 2.5 mile hike is along the Appalachian Trail lending gorgeous views of the mountains in Western Maine, to complete the looping trail will give you access to both Upper and Lower Dunn Falls. This trail is rated as moderate with an easy start and wide trails but becomes more difficult as you travel along. There are several smaller cascades and pools along the journey including Middle Dunn Falls making the trek worth the effort.
Next 3 Highest Waterfalls in Maine
#4 Upper Dunn Falls is a fan with an overall 70 foot drop. To find the trail take Route 26 North from Grafton Notch State Park to Andover Road. Travel 6 miles to a parking area for the Appalachian Trail where it crosses the road. This trail is marked with blue blazes. The trail starts out wide and then becomes more narrow and hilly with some areas relatively steep. Take an extra pair of hiking shoes as you may end up with wet feet crossing the river.
#5 Small Falls is in West Central Franklin County on the Sandy River in Township E near Rangely, Maine. Small Falls is a series of horsetails and cascading waterfalls with an overall drop of 54 feet. To find Small Falls go South of Rangely on Route 4 look for the Small Falls Rest Area. The falls are viewed in the Rest Area and has a rocky beach at the lowest falls for children to splash around in on a hot day. The rest area has picnic tables, charcoal grills and primitive bathrooms. A great way to spend an afternoon enjoying a picnic lunch and a splash in the pool to cool off.
#6 Grand Falls is in Somerset County on the West Branch of the Dead River in Township 3 Range 4 near Bingham and The Forks, Maine. Grand Falls is a block falls with a 40 foot drop and an impressive 100 foot wide waterfall. Swimming is prohibited because of the raging currents. To access Grand Falls use Lower Enchanted Road North of The Forks, Maine. The road will come to a split stay left and continue until you find a large clearing and a Kiosk Building. It’s an easy, short hike to the falls from the parking area.
Last 4 of the Tallest Waterfalls in Maine
#7 Little Wilson Falls located in Piscataquis County on Little Wilson Stream in Elliotsville near Monson, Maine. There is an Upper and a Lower Little Wilson Falls, the upper falls is a series of cascades totalling a 40 foot drop. The lower falls has a total drop of 18 feet. The trail is 2.5 miles round trip with a rough access road and a moderate to difficult trail due to the tree roots. It can be slippery on wet or damp days so use caution. The hike is on part of the Appalachian Trail and gives access to a few smaller falls between the upper and lower falls. From the town of Monson, go North on Maine Route 6 & 15, turn Right onto Elliotsville Road. Travel 7.6 miles and turn Left just before the bridge over Wilson Stream. This road has sections of large potholes, a high clearance vehicle is required to travel further. If you have a low clearance vehicle you can park at this point in the parking lot on the left side of the road, note this will add an additional 2 miles to your hike. About another .8 miles there is additional parking in a gravel lot with a short hike of about .3 of a mile to the trailhead. Note: there is very limited parking at the trailhead.
#8 Snow Falls is in Oxford County on the Little Androscoggin River, at a roadside rest area near West Paris, Maine . The falls are a plunge and cascade with a total drop of 25 feet. From South Paris Maine travel North on Route 26 look for the Snow Falls Rest Area on the left side of the road. From West Paris take Route 219 and look for Route 26 on your right. Travel south until you see the Snow Falls Rest Area on your right. The trail is easy and short with a nice bridge so you can cross over to the opposite side. Note: If you enjoy Gem hunting stop at the Dig Maine Gems location between West Paris and the Snow Falls Rest Stop for some extra family fun.
#9 Kees Falls in Oxford County on Morrison Brook in Batchelders, near Hastings, ME in the White Mountain National Forest. Kees Falls is a horsetail and has a 25 foot drop on the main falls. If you hike the entire loop it is a 7 mile hike rated moderate to hard. The beginning is easy and at the 3rd crossing of Morrison Brook about 1.6 miles from the parking area you will be a short distance from the falls. Kees Falls will be downstream from this crossing with a breathtaking emerald colored pool at the base of the 25 foot drop. The beginning of the hiking trail is located in a parking area on Route 113 approximately 4.6 miles south of the town of Gilead.
#10 Screw Auger Falls is located in Oxford County on the Bear River inside the Grafton Notch State Park located near Newry, Maine. The falls are a plunge and cascade falls with an overall drop of 23 feet. This easy 2 tenths of a mile hike has many ledges and drop offs so caution is needed during wet weather. Screw Auger Falls is easily found by taking Route 26 North from Newry, ME for about 9 miles, go 10 miles to view Mother Walker Falls which is a 40 foot wide cascading waterfall dropping a total of 98 feet. If up for more adventure, while right in the neighborhood, go another mile from Mother Walker Falls to see Moose Cave Falls. Moose Cave is in a 45 foot deep canyon and the waterfall disappears into a cave then reemerges a short distance later. Use extreme caution: the rocks are slippery when wet.
Any of these natural masterpieces are worth the effort to see. Choose a trail that matches your skill level and bring along a picnic lunch. As with any outdoor adventure, go prepared with snacks, water, an extra pair of shoes, some sunscreen and bug spray (during fly season) and enjoy a day exploring near one of Maine’s beautiful waterfalls.
Spring in Maine brings joy. Finally it’s time to clean up from the winter, trim the apple trees, plant your garden and do some hiking, camping or fishing. Spending time outside refreshing your soul. Suddenly another Spring reality strikes when you find a tick crawling on you or attached to your body. The tick population has exploded over the last few years. One of the reasons may be we have moved away from burning fields, which kills ticks, coupled with the increased population of host animals like deer, mice, rats, and squirrels. More ticks are finding their host animals easily, therefore laying more eggs. Nature provides some natural predators to help control ticks like guinea fowl, chickens, turkeys, opossums and ducks. What if you don’t have these around or can’t keep them because you rent. What can you do to feel safer outside?
The number one thing is to start is a tick protocol every time you venture outside. The best protocol starts before you go outside with treating your exposed skin and clothing with a repellent. Following are some natural, simple, safe and effective ways you can protect yourself from tick bites and the bacterial or protozoan infections that cause the diseases and co infections associated with a tick bite. Not every tick is a carrier of these diseases or co infections but the best practice is to treat every tick bite like the tick has a disease.
Tick Killer/Repellent #1: CEDAR OIL
The most effective choice is cedar oil. Cedar oil is non toxic to humans and pets. The same can’t be said for its use on ticks! Cedar oil is a natural insect and tick killer or repellent. This oil can be sprayed directly on your skin and clothing. You can treat your yard with a dilution of this oil but be aware it does kill ants, crickets, roaches, chiggers, mosquitos and japanese beetles and many more insects. It is safe for butterflies and bees! Cedar oil is safe for your pets and can be purchased at most pet stores.
Tick Repellent #2: ORGANIC NEEM OIL
Organic neem oil can be rubbed directly onto your skin. Use several drops in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then spread the oil on any exposed skin. You can mix the neem oil with an almond oil or other light carrier oil to dilute it. In it’s diluted state it is safe to use on your dog. DO NOT treat your cat with neem oil. There is a recipe for a pet safe spray you can use on your cat included near the bottom of this article. Optional spray you can make using Neem oil if you prefer this method of application:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoon of Neem oil
- 4 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Mix together in a spray bottle, shake well before use and spray on clothing and exposed skin. This solution is great to use on dogs as well. Be sure to label your spray bottle with the ingredients!
DIY tick sprays are very effective at repelling ticks. What makes them effective? Ticks dislike certain scents. All those scents are available in organic essential oils. Therefore, making solutions using one or any combination of these scents is a great way to repel ticks. The scents most repugnant to ticks are peppermint, lavender, cinnamon, orange, rose geranium and lemon or lemongrass. These scents can also be used with a light carrier oil like almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba, olive or sunflower oil. Mix them well and rub onto your skin. It is recommended to use 100% organic essential oils for making your tick repellent solutions.
DIY Tick Solution # 1: ESSENTIAL OIL SPRAY
- 4 oz Water
- 20 drops of Lemongrass essential oil
- 20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
Add all the ingredients to a small spray bottle and mix well, label the spray bottle. Shake well before every use, spray your exposed skin and shoes, socks, pants or other clothing as desired. Store in a cool dark place to maintain the efficacy of your solution. This solution is suitable for use on children, adults and dogs.
DIY Tick Solution #2: ESSENTIAL OIL SPRAY
- 4 oz water
- 20 drops of Rose Geranium essential oil
Mix in a spray bottle, label with ingredients before storage. Shake well before use and enjoy the great scent. Can be sprayed on skin and clothing, has an added benefit of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Store in a cool dark place. BONUS: can be used to treat acne!
DIY Tick Solution #3: ESSENTIAL OIL SPRAY
- 4 oz water
- 20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
Mix in a small spray bottle, shake well before use. Spray exposed skin and clothing before going outside. This solution is safe for dogs as well but only in this diluted state. Never use straight eucalyptus oil on your dog. As with all DIY sprays label the bottle before storage and keep in a cool dark place to maintain the effectiveness of the essential oils.
DIY Tick Solution #4: ESSENTIAL OIL LOTION
If you would rather have an oil based body lotion try this nice combination for insect and tick repellent. Choose your favorite carrier oil, jojoba, olive, sunflower, coconut or almond oil to use in this recipe.
- 1 Tablespoon of light carrier oil
- 6 drops of Tea Tree essential oil
- 6 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 9 drops of citronella essential oil
Mix well and spread lightly onto your skin. Take the remaining mixture and put in a little bottle to take with you for reapplication if needed. Any one of the above solutions will work to repel or in the case of the cedar oil kill the pesky disease carrying ticks.
DIY Tick and Flea Solution for Pets (including cats)
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
Mix these two ingredients together in a large spray bottle then add the following ingredients. There will be a foaming reaction so slowly add the wet ingredients while holding the bottle over a sink.
- 8 oz of apple cider vinegar
- 4 oz of warm water
After the foaming reaction subsides spray on pets avoiding the face and eyes. If you want to treat their faces, spray solution onto your hands and gently rub into their fur. Spray your pets body with this solution and then rub into fur down to their skin. This solution can be used on their bedding and throughout the house to treat for ticks and fleas. Retreat on a regular two week cycle during the flea and tick season.
PRO TIP: If you own a lint roller use on your body before entering your house. The sticky paper will pull the tick off your clothes preventing infestation of your home. Keep one in your car to use after hiking or working away from home.
Go wild with your essential oils and combos, try cinnamon and orange or lavender and peppermint, lemon or lemongrass with cinnamon, be adventurous with your scents. No reason tick repellent can’t smell great! If you forget and need to purchase an OTC spray use Ben’s Tick Repellent Spray. It works great but avoid getting it on your skin.
The next step in tick protocol is when you return home. Remove all your clothing and put them immediately into the washing machine. Washing does not kill the ticks but drying them will dehydrate them, preventing an accidental infestation of your home. Take a hot shower and check yourself all over paying close attention to your legs, head, arm pits, mid section including your groin as these are favorite spots for ticks to attach. Slowly run your hands over your body feeling for hard bumps, even tiny ones as the tick nymph are small.
What to do if you find one attached:
- Use a tick removal tool kit, (spoon or key type) Don’t have one? Follow these steps.
- Use fine point tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
- Gently pull straight up ~ Do not twist or jerk the tick
- Do NOT crush the tick between your fingers (bodily fluids carry any diseases)
- Wash the wound and follow with peroxide or alcohol to disinfect
- If the head of the tick is left in the skin do not dig it out. If it can be easily extracted with tweezers without crushing the head, remove it. If not, leave it and let your body take care of it or go to your doctor for proper extraction.
- Capture tick in a zip lock baggie (do not tape or use alcohol to kill the tick if you are having it tested)
- Write in permanent marker on the bag date: time: location on body: location where tick was picked up : Activity during this time
- If in Maine follow this link to have the tick identified and tested https://extension.umaine.edu/ticks/submit/
- Watch the bite site for a rash, bullseye ring or for fever for several weeks
- Call your doctor immediately if you develop any rash or fever.
Arm yourself with knowledge in the war against ticks. Know what works to repel or kill them, and how to properly remove them if they do make it past your defenses. Don’t let ticks prevent you from enjoying the great outdoors!
During this time of Covid-19 when families are drastically affected by the shutdown or closure of many businesses in Ellsworth, Maine. Many local services are following the state guidelines, slowing down the process for help to these families in need. When it takes 6 months to finally receive the unemployment money you applied for at the beginning of the pandemic things can be very stressful. What can you do to help others?
Tip #1: FOOD HELP
Search out your local food pantry or food bank and donate non perishable items. Every item helps a family provide nourishment and prevents hunger. Want to help in a big way? Volunteer your time if they are doing delivery to homes to keep the possibility of contamination down. How rewarding to drop off a much needed box of food to a family in need!
Pro Tip: Go to your local dollar store and purchase 20 items that are essential to a home that are often overlooked at food pantries. Items like toothpaste, body wash, diaper wipes all things that never go bad and will help a family keep healthy too! (check to make sure the place you are donating the items to will accept these types of donations)
Tip #2: HOMELESS SHELTERS/HALFWAY HOUSES
Imagine being in a shelter during this time of uncertainty. Like food pantries the shelters provide meals, as well as showers, laundry and other necessities. Check with your local shelter and see if they can use laundry detergent, dish soap, paper towels, toilet paper, bleach, and food. Use your local family dollar again for the biggest bang for your donation dollars.
Pro Tip: Check with your shelter and see if they are accepting clothing and other household items to assist with setting up a rental for their clients. If so go through your house and donate items you no longer need from clothing to towels, dishes and linens.
Tip #3: HOLIDAY HELP
With the approaching holiday season this year will be especially hard on many families. Donate coats, hats, gloves to the Coats for Kids campaign. Donate at a Toys for Tots, Angel Tree location or at your local Catholic Charities organization. When you see the Salvation Army ringing their bell outside a store stop and drop some change or bills into the red kettle. Every little bit helps these organizations provide a gift to a child or family affected by this pandemic.
Pro Tip: Volunteering at one of these organizations can be a rewarding experience. A little time goes a long way! Volunteer to shop for the gifts, drop off Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, be a secret Santa!
There are many other little things you can do to help others. Check with your neighbors to see if you can save them a trip to the store for milk and bread. Assist an elderly person by picking up their prescriptions and other items to save them a trip out and possible exposure. It takes a community to survive, become part of your community!