Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bowdoin College Coastal Studies Center- A Walk in the Woods

Info Station
Taking advantage of what is probably the last day of summer until next year, Bre and I headed out to Orr's Island for a walk in the Coastal Studies Center woods belonging to Bowdoin College. The land was a gift to the college from Irma & William Thalheimer to be protected and used as a research and teaching facility.

We missed the turn (so pay attention when you're headed out there!) and arrived at the cribstone bridge over to Bailey Island. We turned around and headed back, looking very carefully at the directions and realizing we (ok, you're right, the dog can't read) were looking the wrong way as we drove right by Bayview Rd.

You'll drive all the way to the parking area which is on either side of the road. Check in at the information station (pictured above) and then head out to the trails. Try not to do what we did, which was to get turned around immediately and end up in the 'Laboratory area- no access' parts of the trails. I'm still not sure where I went wrong! I could say I was following Bre. Once she picks up a scent and realizes I am going the same way, she'll follow that person, dog or other animal right off a cliff!

Stone Wall Loop
I was attempting to get to Dog's Head (appropriately enough!) following first the Stone Wall Walk and the Long Cove Loop. Got lost on the Stone Wall Loop and came out at one of the labs (pictured below). After wandering around, realized the sign at the 'end' of the trail showed 'Restricted Access' - but it was such a nice, mowed pathway!


Reoriented and headed down the Brewer Cove Trail which we stuck with until we came to a downed tree across the path. Bre is showing her age and did not want to jump that log. She climbed over and it was a pathetic sight to behold. She did not want to continue along if this was what awaited, so we turned back at that point. We did make it around to where the Brewer Cove Trail and the Pine Needle Trail intersect.

Brewer CoveThis is a similar walk to what you find at Wolfe Neck Woods Park but it is much more 'natural'. Trees that have fallen across the paths are cut and moved aside but there are lots of tree roots, rocks and wet spots to wade through. I would not suggest going out, as I did, after a hard rain. Very soggy in spots. Very slick with all the fallen leaves and pine needles.

OK, so that's the hard part. The easy part? The pine scent all around you. The salty, tidal flats scent. Being out in the middle of the woods with no one else around. The peace and quiet. The water lapping on the shore as the tide comes in. The woodpeckers. The deer (3 whitetails). The end of the summer, the end of fall.

Harpswell Sound
How to get there: Take Rt 24 from Cooks Corners and head toward Bailey Island. When you're on Great Island you will pass Mountain Rd (which, along with the bridge, connects Rts 24 + 123) on the right. Go 2.6 miles past Mountain Rd and turn right on Bayview Rd. It is 1 mile to the parking area.

Make a whole day of it and hike along the Giant Stairs Trail on Bailey Island, drive out to Land's End for fudge, have lunch at the Giants Stairs Seafood Grille and walk the CSC trails above.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's hear it for the oaks!

Usually, at this time of year, it's the maples that get all the attention. Driving along the interstate earlier today, it was oaks as far as the eye could see. Came back and took a walk around town and found these...enjoy!

South Street in Freeport

Torrey Range Hill Rd in Freeport

OK, one maple.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Peak Foliage along the Coast

Casco Bay Trail
According to the foliage maps, we're at peak foliage this week. Some trees have kept up with the news, but others are just biding their time!

For a casual walk that requires minimal effort for gorgeous views check out Wolfe Neck Woods. (admission: $3 for Mainers; $4.50 for those from away) If you drive up and no one is there to take your admission fee, drop it in the bucket by the gatehouse. Really. It's good for your karma.

If you park in the first lot you can grab a map from the box at the head of the Casco Bay Trail entry. The second lot is closer to the restrooms (always good to know where they are!) and the picnic area.

In season, you can view the osprey and seals from along the Casco Bay Trail. Take a shaded walk along the Old Woods & Ledge Trails and enjoy an easy stroll on the White Pines Trail. We love to snowshoe here in the winter.

Some trails have a short, steep climb, steps down to the water, short bridges across wetlands and interpretive signs along the way. Here is Bre demonstrating the steps after taking a dip in the Bay!

The drive to the park is about 4 miles from here. If you can't get here in time for the late foliage, please enjoy the photos!

Above is the shortcut between the Old Woods Trail and the Ledge Trail.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

Mushroom colonies in Maine

Headed out the other day with Bre in tow to take a walk in the fall woods. Absolutely loved the Casco Bay Trail in Wolfe Neck Woods! Keeping in mind I know nothing about mushrooms, I found these colonies remarkably interesting.

If you know the names of them, let me know. Otherwise, just enjoy the colors and shapes and textures!

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032