We have been slowly getting back into walking the 2 mile loop around the neighborhood and even though it is a pretty walk sometimes a change of scenery is required. This desire inspired us to set off to nearby Fernald’s Neck in Lincolnville.
The Fernald’s Neck preserve was transferred to the Nature Conservancy in 1979 and later transferred to the Coastal Mountain Land Trust in 2007. An interesting piece of land that juts out into Megunticook Lake, the traveler has two choices from the parking area; a packed down grassy trail that leads into the pine forest of Fernald’s Neck or a mowed trail leading towards the lake. Given that the path through the field is narrow and knowing that there was rumor of a high density tick infestation in the area we opted to avoid the short trail across the field. Instead, we paused briefly to look across the field towards the mountains, before turning into the woods.
Once in the forest, I found that I had to take care walking along the root laden path. I have found that tree roots on the trail have a habit of waiting for the unsuspecting hiker to walk by before reaching up and grabbing a boot in order to trip the poor wanderer. Even though I had to watch my step, I still discovered plenty of interesting finds during our hike. The first discovery was a cluster of small, white flowers with shamrock type leaves which I later identified as Three-leaved Goldthread.
For this visit we opted to walk the Blue Trail loop, with a short detour on the yellow trail for a view of the lake. Just beyond the interesting feature of the glacial erratic, known as Balance Rock, the stone ground reaches towards the water. The ledge offers an opportunity to sit for a time and enjoy nature. During the quieter times of the year, I thought it would be a great spot for a lunch break.
Although the first portion of the Blue Trail was flat, we found that the portion beyond Balance Rock gave way to a steady incline. Hiking along this section of the preserve we could see the damage left by the blizzard in early November. The trail itself was cleared, with some sections re-routed around fallen trees, but the number of downed trees beyond the trail was astonishing. Even with all this damage someone had managed to leave a small gift behind; a heart made out of pinecones and sticks had been constructed near an area that seemed to have suffered some significant damage. I am sure it was created by some couple caught up in their romance but the artwork just left me feeling upbeat. Further on, I found some interesting shaped fungus on a nearby log.
The woods thinned out a bit as we continued our uphill climb. As the trees became sparse, we emerged on a ledge overlooking the lake. I found it interesting that in one short walk we were able to enjoy the lake from two vantage points; one right at the water level and the other from the top of a hill. Continuing along the Blue Trail, we soon finished the loop and headed out of the preserve. It had been a rewarding journey.