Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Best Short Hike in the State of Maine!

I wanted to share my favorite short hike in Maine.  Although "favorites" are strictly subjective, this one is special to me.  It is the loop trail on the Frank E. Woodworth Preserve in Harrington, Maine.

The Preserve is located on Ripley Neck.....way Downeast in scenic Washington County.

The trail meanders through old growth forest toward Alaska Cove with great views of Pleasant Bay, Hen, Hog and Narrows Islands.

The Preserve is one of many stewarded by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  Here's a link to their wonderful website which will tell you about all of their preserves and easements....which are open to the public and wonderful places to visit.  The land trusts of Maine are saving coastal and inland areas for present and future generations to enjoy. 

Living closeby in the summer, I walk this trail often and enjoy not only the forest and rocky coast, but also the quiet....something no longer available in the "overused" Acadia National Park trail system.   I do sometimes meet other hikers, but thusfar haven't been annoyed by screaming kids or cell phone babbling adults!
Here's a link to MCT's page on this preserve...complete with a downloadable trail map.

The Maine Woods, or boreal forest if you will, is a fascinating place.  Here's an online book to read....

You can just enjoy the walk through the forest, or read the link below to learn about the natural history of the North Woods, it's flora, fauna, earth and sky.

A constant companion and forest intruder alarm is the American Red Squirrel.  Not knowing which of the 25 recognized subspecies this guy is, I will label him Sciurius ubiquitous!

 Feeding mostly on Spruce seeds, red squirrels create piles or middens which not only are their dining tables, but also mark their territories.
Here's a link to an article about red squirrel "kleptoparasitic" behavior......stealing from their neighbors' middens in relation to population density.  Interesting.  I think you could do a similar study with humans and their population density!

 The trail is well marked and not overused or littered. 

Many of these photos were taken in early summer when seasonal streams were still flowing and vernal pools still abundant..

Water is cold, crystal clear and looks pure....but, there are enough small mammals about to not risk a Giardia ingestion.

The young interns from the Land Trust who maintain the trail have done a wonderful job.....putting walkways over sensitive areas.
Here's a link to Acadian Internships....I worked with some of these fine young folks last summer...what a fine program

Besides the squirrels, you are likely to see porcupines, chickadees, spruce grouse, whitetail deer, mice, voles and a myriad of insects if you wish to poke around old stumps and turn over rocks.

Be sure to allow  lots of time to poke around Alaska Cove after a nice walk in the woods.  Lots of great shoreline views and lots of tidal pool exploring to do.

Want to know more about Maine Islands?  Here's a link to the Maine Island Trail Association.

Here's a link to a great video about Rockweed, with a guy named,
Tidepool Tim! 

Another great video....and underwater view of a Rockweed forest.

Do you have a favorite Maine hike?  I'd love to hear about it.
Hope you will get to the Frank E Woodworth preserve next summer....stop by Wabi Sabi Farm (133 Marshville Rd, Harrington) and I'll join you.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. While I love Maine's pristine beauty, my favorite things in Maine: two daughter's and one granddaughter.

    Did not know porcupine climbed trees.

    Beautiful hike, beautiful Maine.

    Thank you, for sharing.

  3. Looks Quite nice and one we haven't done. Maybe a bit far for a short hike- need to find something else nearby