The last week of August displayed all the signs of the end of a season; the sun was setting closer to 7, nighttime temperatures were settling into the 50s while daytime highs were in the 70s, and the tourist traffic was getting lighter. It was the perfect time to explore one of the nearby peninsulas. Driving down any one of the finger peninsulas of Maine, with views of woods, meadows and water is always a delight. I decided to explore Martin Point Wildlife Reserve in Friendship.
I studied the trail map at the kiosk and had a description of the hike from Falcon Guides “Best Day Hikes Camden” in my pocket, so I already knew that I would begin by exploring the blue blazed trail to my right. For the most part, all the trails were clearly marked and copies of the trail map were posted at intersections with “you are here” marks, so even I couldn’t get too lost. I wasn’t too happy that the blue route was a narrow footpath with ferns, berry bushes and grasses encroaching into the walking space but I did not let that stop me from exploring.
Not far into my explorations I suspected that this might be a magical place. My first hint was the sight of a tiny structure made of stones, twigs, moss and shells. This fairy house at the beginning of my journey seemed an invitation to discover the enchantment in nature.
A little further on, I veered right on to the yellow blazed path. Along this route I discovered a trillium showing off a brilliant seed pod. As the trail reached the water I found a glass topped table with 3 chairs; set there by someone who thought this would be the perfect spot to contemplate the views of Crystal Pond.
Following the trail along the edge of the pond I noticed that the blazes became a bit scarce; the yellow markers disappearing but red blazes appearing to my left. If I hadn’t studied the “Easy Day Hikes” description I probably would have gotten lost at this point since the red blazes do not appear on the trail map. But even the book was a little bit confusing for it indicated that one should “continue straight” to follow the red blazes. I did continue straight because I wanted a close-up view of the beaver lodge but all blazes disappeared in that direction. I stood for a bit admiring the craftsmanship that went into the double lodge before continuing straight. Since the trail seemed to narrow at this point, I returned to the red blaze trail which seemed to backtrack to the blue blazed path.
I continued along the blue route before crossing the gold blazed woods road to the green blazed Muscongus Bay Loop. The bay loop never reached the water since this was a protected area, but the wanderer could catch an occasional glimpse of the water through the trees. On this side of the preserve, the ground vegetation gave way to moss covered earth. The effect was magical. In fact, as I meandered away from the bay I discovered a rock cove under Judy’s Ledges and could imagine elves living there.
The green blazed passage intersected the gold blazed wood road shortly after my discovery of the elf lodging, but the evidence of a fantasy world continued when I discovered another more intricate fairy house. In fact, I ended up photographing at least 10 fairy houses and counted almost a dozen more. Who knows how many hidden dwellings I might have missed! The last, most intricate structure, bearing a doorpost sign “there be fairies here” said it all. I could just picture a starlit evening with a full moon and all the “little people” dancing through the woods. A magical place indeed!