Monday, December 29, 2014

Two Short Hikes in Mid-Coastal Maine

I realized that I never posted accounts of two short hikes that I took back in early October when I was in Maine.  Near the end of our trip to the Pine Tree State, we went to one of our favorite state parks, Wolf Neck Woods, and the next day, I took a little hike at the Maine Audubon Society's Mast Landing Preserve.

Wolf Neck Woods State Park is in Freeport, and is located at the black star:

We hiked the Casco Bay Trail along the bay, a short out and back.

The trail itself is mostly wooded.  This park was a favorite of ours when we lived in Maine long ago.

The Maine Coast is pretty spectacular.  The island is Goggins Island, and a pair of ospreys have nested on it for as long as I can remember.

On our last day in Maine, my wife wanted to return to LL Bean and some other stores, so I took a short hike while she was shopping.  I went to Mast Landing Nature Preserve, located here at the black star.

I hiked a short circuit of a couple of miles, hiking through heavy woods.

These photos are typical of the forests at Mast Landing.  I didn't see any wildlife other than a squirrel and a few small birds.  But I enjoyed one last little trek in Maine before heading to Boston later that day.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Powhatan State Park Trails

I've not had time to hike in over a month - just too much going on.  So when I had a last minute chance to go today, even though it was solo, I jumped at the chance.  You could not have asked for a nicer winter day.  I was hiking without a jacket most of the 7.6 miles.

For my hike, I chose Powhatan State Park, about a 30 mile drive from my house.  It is a new addition to Virginia's great state park system, and I had never been.  I really enjoyed it.  While not spectacular, the trails are broad, easy to follow, and mostly level.  I saw at least 20 other walkers, many of them with dogs or children.

Here is a map of my track.  I started and ended at the red circle, and I went more or less counter-clockwise, in the direction of the orange arrows.  The red arrow shows the direction of the James River as it heads inexorably to the Chesapeake Bay.

I hiked on at least four different trails to cobble together my route.  My first trail was the cabin trail, and it featured the bones of a long-gone cabin.  I wonder what the family that lived here experienced?  If you look at the map above, there are two little blue rectangles on the right hand side.  This cabin is located at the more southerly one.

This shows the trail marker for the well-named Pine Trail, the second part of my hike.

Most of the hiking was in a forest, but a mile or so covered some very open country.

I didn't see much wildlife, but most of what I saw occurred right here.  I saw several dozen small birds flitting around in the undergrowth.

I think this is a red-backed salamander.

This part of the trail is heading towards the river.

The James River is wide and deceptively powerful at this point.

I enjoyed getting out for one final hike in 2014, especially on such a gorgeous day.  This hike put my trail miles for the year for about 195, more than 100 higher than last year.