During my travels over the last few years, I often passed a small land trust sign for the Oyster River Bog along Route 90 and decided that one day I would explore the area. I hesitated to take this particular preserve on due to two stories I had read; one of a person who had been through the preserve and contracted one of the more serious tick related illnesses and the other from a blogger who had encountered a large population of both black flies and mosquitoes while exploring the area during the summer months. But one crisp, 18 degree day in December seemed like the perfect time to investigate this trail.
Knowing that the trail ran 6.7 miles from Route 90 to Route 1 in Thomaston, my husband and I decided that we would meander the trail for an hour or so before turning around, but first we had to find the trailhead. After turning into the driveway near the preserve sign, we stopped in a field near the road. We could not see any kiosk or trail markers, so we decided to walk a bit to try and find where this hidden park was located. The driveway led into a boat yard which did not look very promising. We walked deep into the boatyard, down the full length of the driveway before locating the kiosk and a small parking area. I felt the directions for this preserve should have indicated this small detail. Once my husband retrieved the car, we set off into the woods.
We soon discovered another benefit of hiking a bog trail during the cold days of winter; the wet areas were completely frozen. This enabled us to avoid using some of the rotten planks that had been laid down as bog bridges. Right at the beginning of our walk, I had to pause and study an intriguing design in the ice nearby before maneuvering over one of those worn out structures.
The only difficulty on this path was the number of rocks that one needed to walk around. There were enough of these obstacles that while I was anticipating the next one I tripped over the one right in front of me. During the few seconds that I was lying flat on the ground I gave a few thanks that the cold temperatures had encourage us to bundle up in layers, including a top layer of ski pants. Unhurt, I continued on.
Soon after this incident, we reached a bridge that spanned the Oyster River. It was a beautiful structure, complete with a seat at the center. In one direction, we studied the ice formations on the nearby vegetation. Looking the other way, we watched the river disappear through the trees.
After enjoying the views, we continued on before encountering another bridge crossing over a section of bog. Given the height of this overpass we wandered how high the water levels would get in the spring.
Our journey advanced past several frozen flood plains. I found the one surrounded be fir trees especially beautiful. At this point, we were reaching our hour mark but I knew that we must be getting close to the Split Rock notated on the trail map, so we continued on for a few more minutes. It wasn’t long before we reached this interesting attraction. We wondered at the tree growing through the middle of this split studying it from all angles. After completing our investigations we decided to call it a day and turned towards home.