Ash Point 2023

Somehow, the trail conditions this winter were not very conducive for hiking. There were a few times when I went snowshoeing with my husband, but I only went out once or twice with my hiking buddy. And now, we were in March. If the trails weren’t covered in ice requiring micro-spikes, then they were covered in snow the consistency of mashed potatoes, or mud. Maybe, I was just getting old and cranky, but the weather conditions really kept me indoors this winter. Finally, on March 19th, my friend decided we needed to get out for at least a short hike. We decided to explore Ash Point Preserve in Owl’s Head.

After reaching the trail head, we had to walk down a narrow easement towards the actual preserve. This portion of the trail required micro-spikes and a diligent eye to avoid dog excrement. Once we got past the easement, we decided to walk the loop in a counterclockwise direction.

Just as we reached a moss-covered stone wall, we encountered a sign that warned us of icy and dangerous conditions on this side of the preserve since the trail went pretty close to the cliffs. Since we had spikes, we felt that we would be okay and proceeded to explore the trail.

Just past the stone wall, we found a tree with the largest burl I have ever seen. My friend was able to sit on it. After taking a few pictures of this oddity, we looked around us and noticed there was not an ice patch in sight, so off came the spikes. In fact, it was mud-season conditions that we had to worry about.  From this point on, there were numerous places where the trail was under water.

As we neared the cliffs, we noticed that this section of the woods had developed a whole different character. Suddenly, it had become a magical green wonderland. All the trees were covered in Beard Lichen. We spent quite a bit of time here, walking around trying to find the best way to get a photo.

Once we were done playing around the lichen covered trees, we continued following the trail along the cliffs. At one point, we found a small trail that took us to a rocky area overlooking the water. It was a great place to enjoy a snack while we watched the wave action as it hit the rocks below. While we were enjoying the view, I experimented with my camera, holding the shutter down for multiple shots in order to capture the complete cycle of a wave coming over and then hitting a rock.

Back on the trail, we continued until we reached the bisector trail. Here my friend, decided she had enough, so, instead of proceeding to the smaller loop we headed back towards the trail head. Unfortunately, we would have been better off taking the loop, for we encountered a fallen tree across the trail. With nowhere to go on either side of the trail, we had to climb under and over branches. At one point, I was stuck for a bit while contemplating my next maneuver. There I was squatting beneath the branches I had crawled under but my foot was stuck beneath a branch on the ground. At last I got free and continued over the remaining debris while trying to avoid the sticker branches on either side of me.

 After we both successfully made it through this obstacle, we reached the intersection with the smaller loop and the sign that indicated the distance. I looked at my friend in disbelief and said, “Really! We went through all of that because you didn’t want to walk an extra .3 of a mile?” She just shrugged. We laughed and continued our short journey back to the entrance.


6 thoughts on “Ash Point 2023

  1. You introduced me to beard lichen. Something I haven’t seen on my hikes. Soon I will be in the United Kingdom and apparently it is quite abundant there so I will keep my eyes open.

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