Sunday, March 19, 2023

Maine Forest Yurts (Durham)

We spent the weekend glamping at Maine Forest Yurts in Durham.  MFY's four well equipped yurts sit on a 100 acre wooded parcel of land abutting Runaround Pond.  Guests renting yurts can use several miles of trails crisscrossing the property through the woods and down to the pond.   In the summer there are also canoes available for guests.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Great Meadows, Assabet River, and Parker River National Wildlife Refuges (Massachusetts)

My daughter was spending her spring break in Massachusetts so I met up with her and spent part of our time together visiting national wildlife refuges.  

Great Meadows is a 3,850 acre wildlife refuge primarily located in Sudbury and Concord.  85% of the refuge is water and wetlands.  We visited the Concord section of the refuge Saturday afternoon, hiking a mile on the Dike Trail and climbing an observation tower.  The refuge was surprisingly busy for a cold overcast March day.   

The 2,230 acre Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is also located in Sudbury on land previously owned by the military.   The refuge has over 15 miles of trails through a variety of forested habitats.   It also contains old ammunition bunkers from when it was a military installation.  We hiked an enjoyable 2.8 miles and enjoyed watching a pair of geese swimming close to shore.

Sunday morning we went to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newbury.  Parker River is a 4,662 acre coastal refuge with sand beaches, dunes, shrubs and thickets, bogs, swamps, fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats and rivers.  

We arrived in time to watch the sunrise over the ocean.  This is one of the nicest national wildlife refuges I've been to in New England.  There are numerous board walks leading to the beach, a few short hikes, and an excellent visitor center.  Our favorite hike was the1.3 mile Hellcat Boardwalk Trail, which is almost entirely boardwalk except where it crosses over the refuge road.  The trail leads to three different overlooks that showcase different ecosystems.  Like Assabet, Parker River became surprisingly crowded while we were there despite temperatures in the 30s.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Kanokolus Bog Preserve (Unity)

My son and I went snowshoeing at the Kanokolus Bog Preserve in Unity this morning.  The 189 acre preserve is managed by the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust and is an example of a raised level bog ecosystem.  

The preserve’s parking lot had not been plowed so we parked on Route 202 and walked in.  The trail was covered by close to a foot of undisturbed snow due to two recent snowstorms, providing a muted, isolated feel to our hike.  Several animal tracks crisscrossed the trail.  We took the Winter Bog Access trail to ITS-85, a snowmobile trail which bisects the preserve and provided temporary relief from breaking trail.   We hiked a total of 1.25 miles.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Maine Coastal Islands NWR - Salt Marsh and Corea Heath Trails (Gouldsboro)

I hiked two trails this morning in the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge - the Salt Marsh and the Corea Heath Trails.

The 9,478 acre Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of five individual refuges along Maine's coast.

Salt Marsh Trail - Gouldsboro Bay Division

The Gouldsboro Bay Division, in Gouldsboro, protects 635 acres, including mature upland forest and a large tidal saltmarsh and mudflat.  It shares a parking lot with the Frenchman Bay Conservancy's 438 acre Frances B. Wood Preserve.

The Salt Marsh Trail is a 1.6 mile trail that leads through a conifer forest to two observation platforms with views of the salt marsh.   There were no human footprints in the day old snow that covered the trail.  A few downed trees and icy slopes provided an obstacle course feel to an otherwise beautiful trail.  

Corea Heath Trail - Corea Heath Division

The Corea Heath Division consists of 431 acres of coastal peatland previously owned by the U.S. Navy.  

The Corea Heath Trail is a 0.4 mile handicapped accessible trail that leads to an observation platform overlooking a coastal plateau bog.  This is an easy flat trail with expansive views of the heath.  

Monday, February 20, 2023

Monroe Falls (Monroe)

Monroe Falls is a local park better known as a swimming hole than a hiking destination although there is a nice 0.1 mile leaving down to the falls. My son and I visited the park this morning and enjoyed the interesting ice formations above the falls. The trail had a significant amount of ice on it.  We encountered a helpful resident who pointed us in the right direction (we were on the wrong side of the river.)   This is a very scenic spot.  

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Vasselboro Wildlife Habitat (Vasselboro)

The Vasselboro Wildlife Habitat is a 366 acre preserve managed by the Kennebec Land Trust.  The preserve's two forested trails lead to a pond and a wetland.  More information about the preserve, including it's history, can be found at  

I hiked the Alewife Amble Loop trail today.  The 1.2 mile lollipop trail travels through scenic woods and along the shore of Webber Pond.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Green Lake National Fish Hatchery (Ellsworth)

I did a quick 1.2 mile hike today at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery in Ellsworth.   I parked in visitor parking next to the hatchery building and walked the initial 1/3 mile on the paved hatchery road.  At the end of the road at Green Lake the trail then headed into the woods.   

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains around two miles of woodland trails on 129 acre property.  Visitors can also view the inside of the hatchery building.   

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Stones River National Battlefield (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

We are visiting friends outside of Nashville and decided to go for an early morning hike at Stones River National Battlefield, a National Park unit in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Stones River was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the civil war, and the park does a good job of interpreting it's history.  The 600 acre park contains seven miles of trails leading through woods and open fields.  We did a two mile walk along paved trails and the park road and saw abundant deer along the way.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Penobscot River Trails (Staceyville)

Penobscot River Trails is a 4,375 acre nature preserve owned by the nonprofit The Butler Conservation Fund.  The preserve's 15.5 acres of trails are open to crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking and biking during the summer.   The property has a visitor center, two warming huts and restrooms scattered throughout.  

I arrived shortly after 9 am and was the only one at the preserve.  After signing in at the visitor center I headed out on the trails, snowshoeing 6.3 miles on the well groomed trails.  I had the preserve to myself for the first part of the hike.   On the return trip I encountered a steady stream of skiers heading out to enjoy the trails.  

This is a beautiful place with trails that run adjacent to the river and through a variety of forested habitats.