With the humidity down and my youngest soon to be flying from the nest once more, I decided that it would be nice to share a mother daughter hike before she traveled on to greater things. Knowing my outdoor limitations, I thought a stroll through Vaughan Woods in Hallowell would be the perfect place for an exploration, so we hit the road early and began the hour drive inland. We did not anticipate that this would be an adventure even before we hit the trail. August is the height of tourist season, but somehow the road gods have decided that this is the best time to repair the roads, probably to bring angst to the greatest number of people. After driving through 2 one lane sections of road and obeying a detour sign that placed me on the wrong side of the bridge to the parking area (causing me to back track), we finally found the preferred parking area and headed into the woods.
We soon found ourselves on a wide, well maintained dirt path. Although sections of the forest floor showed the dried, cracked earth of the dry summer, the tree canopy was still lush and green. The mulched trail and the thick wood was certainly a peaceful setting for a walk. The added bonus was the number of photo opportunities that slowed my daughter down enough for me to keep up (or maybe she was being kind to her dear, old mother).
After a short time, we came to a field with a single, majestic tree keeping guard over its domain. As I looked out over the meadow of yellow flowers, Wordsworth’s “host of golden daffodils” came to mind but in this case it would have to be a host of yellow goldenrod. It looked like there were several paths running through the field and we were not quite sure which way one would take deposit us on the correct trail. With no trail markers and several routes that my daughter referred to as “social trails”, we picked the most likely looking path and soon found ourselves back in the woods.
We strolled along until we came to a stone bridge. We made our way down to the banks of a lovely pool with a small waterfall flowing over the rocks. It was a lovely place to soak in the magical atmosphere while my daughter spent a few minutes taking pictures. Done with our rest, we crossed over the bridge to continue our journey.
At some point we came to another intersection near another meadow. This didn’t seem to correspond with my trail map but we opted to cross the field only to find ourselves in the second parking lot. We turned around, turned towards the second option and found a bridge spanning a gorge. Again I rested while my daughter explored. Another family was poking around the rocks and water as well. They were very happy to see me with a trail map since they had been making wrong turns at the trail junctions. I informed them that even with the map we ended up in the wrong place but they could certainly study it and hoped they had better luck.
Done with our explorations we continued on our way back to the car. It had been a wonderful 1.5 to 2 hour stroll.