The second week of July brought sunny days and 80 degree temperatures. With hot, muggy weather in the forecast, I decided to take an early morning walk exploring the Little River Community Trail in Belfast starting from Perkins Road. For whatever the reason, I have been hesitant to hike on my own this year. I knew I needed to regain my confidence in this area, and this seemed the adventure that would help me reach that goal. Reviewing a description of this section of trail, I aimed to walk from Perkins Road about 1.7 miles to where “the trail passes a large boulder beside the river.” With this in mind, I consulted the map to verify the directions to Perkins Road and set out for my morning outing.
I found Perkins Road without any problem and parked at the pullout near the first section of trail that heads towards Route 1. From here, I had to cross the road and walk about 200 yards towards the next section of the Belfast reservoir and the trail. As I began my journey along the trail, I noticed the grass was a little high on this first section of trail and with my tick phobia in high gear, I tucked my pant legs into my socks, while hoping my Insect Shield pants would do the trick before continuing my explorations.
Not long after entering a pine forest, I noticed areas carpeted with green leaves of Canada Mayflowers. Other areas were covered with a blanket of Wintergreen. In the middle of one such area, I found a nice cluster of mushrooms that I had to study for a few minutes.
What I liked about this path, was that I was never far from the water. It was always there, visible through the trees. At one spot, I discovered the skeletal remains of a tree or bush, partially submerged in the reservoir. The delicate, white remains of this plant kept my attention for a little while before I continued on.
Gradually, the large body of water I had been following became a river, but the trail still tracked the water’s direction. With the humidity and the temperatures rising I persevered in my quest across bridges and the ups and downs of the terrain. I counted six bridges that led across boggy areas; a zig-zag planked bridge, 2 rolled log bridges, 2 that consisted of 3 logs placed precariously across the wet area and 1 sturdy looking structure.
Passing the half hour mark, I still had not met another soul during this expedition. I was alone in the woods, enjoying the sounds of bullfrogs, Carolina Wrens, Wood Thrushes, Woodpeckers and other birds. Suddenly, the peaceful sounds were disrupted by an expletive! My mother once complained that pine needles caused her to slip and fall, but my downfall (no pun intended) was mud covered roots. I had been so wrapped up by the sounds of nature, that I missed the transition from dry path to boggy ground and found myself on my knees. Not hurt, I got up and continued my journey.
Approaching the 45 minute mark, the air was becoming oppressive but I really wanted to reach my goal of that large boulder at 1.7 miles. I figured it could not be much further but as I crossed yet another bridge, there was still no large rock in sight. I stopped for a moment as the trail descended steeply to a gulley before rising just as steeply on the other side. And this was where I called it quits. The landmark boulder was going to have to wait another day. Perhaps then, I will attempt to reach it from the Route 52 trailhead. It’s supposed to be only 1.3 miles from that end of trail.