One day in mid-September I decided to explore a portion of the Little River Community Trail. This hidden trail extends approximately 4 miles from the Belfast Water District on Route 1 to the Walsh Ball Field on Route 52, not far from where Route 52 intersects with Route 1. My plan was to hike the 1 mile section of the trail from the Water District to Perkins Road, so I pulled into the Water District driveway and drove to the back end of the lot where there was a sign pointing out the parking area for hikers.
Before following the trail into the woods, I decided to explore the Water District grounds first. I walked back towards Route 1 for a better look at the reservoir spillway. We seem to have had a very dry late summer this year, for the water that flowed from the reservoir underneath Route 1 was reduced to a trickle. I have noticed that the water levels of many of the lakes and streams we have encountered during our explorations were drastically lower than the year before. This left me hoping for some rain (but not on this particular day while I was hiking). I turned back towards the trail entrance, spotting a rather large, beautiful fungus formation just before entering the woods.
The first portion of the Little River Community Trail was primarily White Pine and other fir trees, with very little undergrowth along the path. I was glad I had my hiking poles with me for support over tree roots the ridges and gullies I encountered along the way. Although the path travelled through the woods, it never strayed far from the water. This provided some wonderful opportunities for observing the activities over the water. In one spot, I was able to watch a cormorant as he spread his wings out to dry.
As the water area became smaller, the water took on a more muddy appearance. I came upon several naturally, large areas which must have given others the idea for non-hiking activities, for there were signs in this area that warned against camping and campfires. I wondered if those who had posted the signs knew about the swimming hole, for during this part of my journey I found a knotted rope hanging from a tree close to the water’s edge, an obvious means for entering the muddy water below.
Many times during my walk, I saw chipmunks and squirrels scurrying about, cheeks full, as they gathered provisions for the coming winter. One brazen little red squirrel stopped to study me for a bit, rather unusual for such an energetic creature. There were other signs of the approaching, colder season as well; the occasional plant already red, or the rare goldenrod already gone to seed.
As I approached Perkins Road, the trail narrowed and the woods gave way to meadow on one side. Looking out over the field, there was a lone tree in the distance, guarding its open domain. When the trail ended, I decided to walk along the road for a short distance, just to locate the next section of the Little River Community Trail. Once I found it, I turned back the way I had come. Along the roadside I found a lovely cluster of New England American Asters still dressed in a deep purple. Near the trail entrance, there was a small group of Panicled Hawkweed that had gone to seed. Satisfied with my discoveries, I entered the woods and returned to the Water District parking area.