After lunch at Gritty McDuff’s in Freeport (haddock sandwiches and a brew–no PB & J today), my guy and I found our way to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park on Casco Bay. So, here’s the good, but scary part. We’ve been there before, but not in a long while–and neither of us had any recollection of it. That means today’s visit was like going there for the first time all over again. (Our dementia is setting in.)
Trails follow the coast and circle back to the Harraseeket River, passing through a variation of natural communities. We trekked over all but the North Loop before we ran out of time. Actually, we finished up a wee bit after the park was officially closed for the night and were glad to find the gate still open.
By the forest floor, it was easy to name the predominate hardwood trees in any given area from Northern Red Oak to
American Beech to
Big-tooth Aspen. Spruce, hemlock, pine and fir also fill this more than 200-acre forest given to the State in 1969 by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence M.C. Smith.
Sometimes the path was packed dirt that made for easy walking.
In other places, a stone pathway had been carefully laid out before us.
And no woodland trail is complete without an array of roots and rocks.
One of the noticeable features of this location is the number of uprooted trees.
The wind enjoyed a serious game of tic, tac, toe, three in a row or dominoes with this event. Here’s hoping that no one planned a picnic that day.
And in other spots, it looked like the gale force winds of both summer and winter beat upon the landscape.
Always on the lookout for interesting sites, my eye was drawn to the wavy inner bark of this old birch. It could be locks of Rapunzel’s hair. Of course, I also see a mermaid swimming in the slightly darker wood. Isn’t that what a naturalist is supposed to see?
And then there was the hemlock-green sideways-turned eye–taking a different view of the world.
While I’m sharing some interesting shots, I thought I’d include this one–of pine needles. It was getting dark and I chose the wrong setting, but I like the artsy texture of it–tweed-like in appearance.
And the most interesting of all. My guy–he could pass for the invisible man.
Of course, we were beside Casco Bay, so we spent time exploring the coast line as well.
My knowledge of the island names is less than limited, but it did appear that those in the distance were floating on water–a mirage.
As part of the park, Goggins Island is an Osprey sanctuary. Though I respect that, I do have to wonder about the human impact on the bird’s mating season. We’ve seen Ospreys build nests atop telephone poles over highways and bike paths with successful births despite the continuous noise and disturbance. But . . . a sanctuary certainly provides an extra layer of protection.
We could only spot one cock-eyed nesting platform on the island–with no nest on it.
We did spy a bird-made nest on the mainland, and rather close to the trail. Just saying.
All nests are abandoned now as the birds flew to South America in September–with plans to return next year to this golden paradise where they’ll mate again. Ospreys are monogamous and repeatedly use the same nest site. That’s the amazing piece to me.
The rocky coast of Maine includes the lighter colored granite pegmatites and darker metamorphic rocks with their repetitive flattened layering.
I found it intriguing how each layer before us mimicked the next–from the rocks to the ocean waves to the islands to the clouds in the sky.
And then it was time to bid adieu. The setting sun where the forest meets the bay–Casco Bay. On. A. Mondate.