It was a dreary mid-October day when I convinced a friend that we should head down to Freeport. Initially, I thought that we would head over to the Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary but since the forecast promised rain, we decided to browse around the outlets as an alternate diversion. Our real adventure would consist of finding a new route to Freeport, avoiding both the route that would take us through the construction on Route 1 in Bath and the one through Augusta to 295. So with my friend acting as navigator, we meandered our way down a number of back country roads towards our destination. Ultimately, we discovered that it did not matter whether one travels to Freeport via the highway or the byway, it would still require an hour and half of driving time but at least the back roads option had some really nice views.
Once in Freeport, we started to roam around town through a few outlet stores but it wasn’t long before we both realized that neither one of us was in the mood for such activity. Since it wasn’t raining yet, we decided to implement our original plan and headed over to the Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary for some outdoor exploration.
After viewing a trail map (which we later decided was not quite accurate), we planned on walking a loop by hiking the Ridge Trail to the Bench Loop Trail towards the Mill Stream Trail. From there, the service road would take us back to the car. Not long into our exploration, we found the remains of the Old Farmhouse Foundation (marked on the trail map). On this occasion, it was roped off and marked as an archaeological site so we moved on.
At the next intersection, wooden signs pointed straight to continue on the Ridge Trail or right towards the Deer Run Trail. We headed straight according to plan but it was interesting to note that the connecting trail towards Deer Run was not marked on the map. Although the day was pretty dreary, we were still able to enjoy the subdued colors or the season as we walked along. I stopped a few times to study some interesting lichen, fungus or a brightly colored leaf stuck in a pine tree before moving on to the next attraction.
As we headed down the back side of our loop, we passed two benches before reaching an intersection that was not clearly marked. We made our best guess, only to find ourselves in a maze of trails. Eventually, we reached a clearing with a single apple tree and joked that at least we would not go hungry. Finally, at the far end of the clearing we found a wooden sign pointing towards the Mill Stream Trail. We followed this trail along the stream before ending at the remains of the old mill site and dam. We studied the ruins for a bit before walking down the service road towards the car.