With warmer weather and sunny days finally on the horizon, we were finally able to plan a hike for mid-June. We thought Ragged Mountain might be a good hike, but having struggled during an unprepared 4 hour adventure from the Route 17 trailhead last fall, we decided that the Thorndike Brook Trail from Hope Street might be a more realistic option. Just to be safe, we packed water and a snack this time around.
I had walked a portion of this trail a year ago when I joined a guided wildflower walk hosted by one of the local land trusts. Then, we had gone as far as an open field with some views if you were standing on high ground. This year, our goal was to continue past the intersection of the Thorndike Brook trail with the Ragged Mountain trail towards a section known as Buzzards Ledge. Our plans in place, we set off on the trail.
From the parking area we walked along a narrow, grassy path, noting the various plants along the way. In addition to some Yellow Hawkweed, I spotted some ferns with leaves still curled, while my husband identified some Royal Fern. Passing through a wet spot, I was urged to stop taking pictures and keep walking before the mosquitos and flies carried us away. Picking up the pace a bit, we soon reached an open area covered with blueberry bushes. Here, we found the remains of this year’s Lady Slippers hiding beneath a thick cluster of low hanging pine branches.
Back in the woods, we began a steady, upward progression. Unfortunately our pace slowed at this point and the insects buzzing around us had returned. I wondered how high one had to climb to leave these pests behind. We were distracted for a few minutes when we spotted a monument a few feet off the trail to our left. My husband went to inspect this marker and found a “C” on one side and an “R” on the other. With this information, I vaguely remembered one of our guides from the year before mentioning something about a town line marker, separating Camden from Rockport.
Continuing on our journey, it wasn’t long before the incline of the trail caused us to take more frequent rest breaks. At one point, I decided to use the old “there must be something here to photograph” excuse and started taking pictures of an intricate slug trail imprinted on a nearby plant. Okay, the description wasn’t eloquent but it was an interesting design.
After using tree roots and stones as steps and circling around a switchback, we finally spotted our open field towards our right. Here we decided to sit on the granite surface to enjoy our snack while watching the dragonflies flit about. The tree growth was such that our only view was the field itself, but it still offered opportunity to study the moss and lichen around us. Walking along another ten minutes after completing our snack, we discovered, too late, the perfect spot for lunch. Oh well, maybe next time we will enjoy better views.
We continued our ascent to the intersection of the Ragged Mountain and Barnestown Road Trail. Since we still wanted to reach the Buzzards Ledge section of the Barnestown Road Trail, we travelled on. It soon became apparent that we were heading in a downhill direction. I was getting tired, and knowing that we would have to climb back up to the trail intersection, I made the decision to turn around. Perhaps next time we will try reaching the Ledge from the other side.