Early December brought cloudy skies and snow showers, evidence that winter weather would soon be here to stay awhile. By mid-morning the snow showers departed and we decided to head towards Bristol and the La Verna preserve. I purposely left my sunglasses at home to insure that we would have sunny skies by the time we reached La Verna. Now one of the interesting things to note about the finger peninsulas of Maine, is that the traveler is often deceived about the length of time it takes to reach the final destination. On this occasion we turned off Route 1 and travelled another half hour down a winding road before reaching the preserve.
After reaching the parking area, we pulled a trail map from the kiosk and crossed the street towards the preserve. We walked along the wooded Hoyt Trail, which is actually a narrow-right-of way, past stone walls and a variety of hardwoods. The trail was clearly marked with blue blazes with the occasional sign pointing out turns to keep hikers on the right-of-way. Every once in a while we discovered a random boardwalk had been placed to allow the wanderer to meander more easily through the wet sections of the trail. I stopped to admire the artistic form of the remnants of a spent fern. Frustrated by my attempts to photograph this artistry due to the lack of contrast, my husband obliged by using his blaze orange vest as a backdrop. It really is wonderful to have a mate who is so accommodating!
We walked for about a ½ mile before crossing the boundary to the preserve. Although the blazes remained blue, once in the preserve the trail changed names. We were now on the La Verna trail. Near the boundary separating the easement from the park, we crossed a small stream. The rocks in the stream created a small waterfall, so we stopped a bit to meditate on the view and listen to the soothing sounds of the water flowing over the stones.
A little further on we had the choice of continuing on the La Verna trail which would take us through the center of the preserve or turning left on to the yellow blazed Ellis trail creating a large loop through the park. We opted to continue our journey on the Ellis Trail and make the loop around the park. During this portion of our explorations, the spruce and white pine canopy blocked the light for a bit before changing back to a mix of hardwoods and pines. It wasn’t long before we caught a glimpse of water through the trees.
We followed the Ellis trail along the shoreline, continuing past the intersection with the La Verna Trail (which would lead back to the preserve entrance) on to the green blazed Tibbitts Trail. Walking along the Tibbitts Trail we remained near the shoreline. We found an overlook that allowed us to enjoy a snack while we studied the interesting geologic features of the area. The uplifted and folded rocks told a story of a major, catastrophic event so long ago. But there was beauty here too, and another gift of nature for us to enjoy.
Finishing our snack, we continued our loop back towards the La Vena and Hoyt trails. It was a day filled with the many offerings that nature had to give. And as we come to the end of the year, I hope you have many opportunities to enjoy those moments of peace and tranquility that nature offers.