By the middle of April we finally experienced some relatively warm, sunny weather; so when my daughter called asking if we would be interested in hiking the Oven’s Mouth Preserve in Boothbay, we jumped into the car and headed south. Owned by the Boothbay Region Land Trust, Oven’s Mouth consists of 2 peninsulas joined by a footbridge that crosses the river. A loop trail on each peninsula provides some nice views of the water. For this journey, we decided to walk both loops for a 3 mile ramble.
Our travels began from the parking area of the Western Shore. We followed the white blazes along the ridge, occasionally catching glimpses of the tidal basin below us. Though not always visible, the smell of low tide informed us of its existence. From time to time, there was enough cleared space for us to view the mud flats and study the channels created by the tides.
It wasn’t long before we reached the bridge connecting the Western Shore to the Eastern Shore. We paused at the midpoint, studying the cove beyond the mud. Below was the remains of some stone structure, which I later discovered was the remnants of a dam built in the 1880s to create a fresh water pond for the ice industry.
Not long after traversing the bridge to the Eastern Shore, we were all able to identify a Red Spruce. Now, none of us are that good at tree identification but we knew this without a doubt because the tree told us so. The beautiful marker attached to the tree clearly stated “Red Spruce”. In addition to locating several other trees that were clearly identified, we found several markers bearing different letters and at least one with a number. There had been no self-guided brochure at the kiosk, but the markers did seem to indicate that we were following some sort of interpretive trail. Other than the wooden signs, there were no other signs to help us along the way; no leaves or flower buds to indicate Spring was well on its way. Then I found that hint of warmer weather that I had been searching for; a leaf bud on some unidentified branch just beginning to unfurl. This tiny leaf gave me hope that perhaps, the trees will don their spring/summer attire by the end of April.
We continued along the white blazed loop until we reached a lovely spot with a bench near the mouth of the cove. We tried to convince one member of our party that this was a lovely spot for lunch and she should go find sandwiches, but she wasn’t buying it. Even without the makings of a picnic, the spot provided beautiful views of the cove. Across the water was another ledge with a bench perched upon the rock; another ideal spot for a picnic although it did look a little more challenge to reach.
After our rest, we continued on towards the bridge. Back on the Western Shore we turned left to continue the loop. I looked for that bench along the way but I never did find the trail down towards the ledge. The trail on this side of the cove was a little more difficult with more uphill and down spots along the way. It wasn’t long before we ended our 2+ hour hike and bribed out hiking buddies with homemade pizza.