What a difference one year makes in the cyclic pattern of nature! This time last year I had already observed the tender shoots of spring flowers pushing up through the snow and found snowdrops in full bloom. But this year finds all evidence of spring flowers insulated under several feet of snow. And as temperatures soar to the mid-twenties, it suddenly feels like spring; awakening the desire to be outdoors once more. So one warm weekend towards the end of February, it seemed fitting to put on our snowshoes and enjoy the outdoors.
For this adventure, we decided to head over to Tanglewood in nearby Lincolnville. The storms of November had left the trails impassable, but a few months of clearing and school recess programs scheduled at this camp assured us that we would be able to enjoy the woods this time around. Not only did the trails show evidence of others braving the elements before us, but we met many people that day who were so happy to be out. Everyone greeted us with “what a beautiful day” or “great to be outdoors again”.
Our plan was the same as our previous visit; we would snowshoe along the Forest Loop Trail to the camp and either return to our car via the road from the camp or continue along the Forest Loop Trail back to the parking area. Not far into our hike, I paused to admire the magical winter landscape. A small area of young pines, covered by the multiple snowfalls had the appearance of ghost sentinels, silently guarding their forest home. Nearby, a stern stump-soldier wearing an ominous looking snow helmet watched us pass by.
Since we experienced some difficulty making our way through the snow, we opted to shorten our walk by cutting across to the camp via the Old Boundary Trail. This may have been a mistake, for once on the Old Boundary Trail we discovered that this path had not seen as many visitors as the Forest Loop. It slowed us down some, as we made frequent stops to enjoy the scenery and rest for a bit.
As we approached the camp, we noticed a suspension bridge crossing the Ducktrap River. Researching this later, I discovered that this steel cable bridge crosses the River to a trail that leads to the Cobbtown Road. Not wishing to leave the park or to take the camp road back, we decided to continue on the Forest Loop trail.
It always seems that once a person has made the decision to take the longer trail out, fatigue sets in and what our family calls “the march” begins. Before the one step in front of the other mindset began, I was aware of my surroundings enough to admire a rather large snow-covered shell fungus. This was probably the last thing I observed as I trudged back to the car. Although fatigued and sore by the end of our trip, it still was a great day to be outdoors.