October 12, 2009
We wanted to see the Atlantic, and we wanted to see Maine. Wofe’s Neck Woods SP fulfills both those requirements. So, Mom, Andra and I drove to Freeport one fine autumn day, stopping for a nice coffee in town, and then cruising east to the small forested peninsula known as Wofe’s Neck. We paid our entrance fee at the self-service kiosk, then parked at the little loop and began our hike. It was extremely pleasant weather, and the leaves on the trees were all yellow and red. Very fantastic.
We began walking south through the oak and pine forest on the Old Woods Road, and took the first right on the Harraseeket Trail, which took us towards the west side of the peninsula. We crossed a road, and then hiked towards the mingling waters of the Harraseeket River and Casco Bay. The forest was thick, made up principally of white pines, and we walked south along the rocky shore. A selection of boats was lined up in the river, with houses on the shore beyond. The Harraseeket Trail left the shore, and turned southeast back in towards the peninsula. This was probably the nicest section of the hike, as it was the quietest, and also seemed to have the highest diversity of tree species. We headed southeast to the other side of the peninsula, the Casco Bay side, and there were able to take a short flight of wooden stairs down to a series of rocky ledges along the water, with a beach to the south. We sat on the rocky ledges and enjoyed the water, good Atlantic Ocean water, and enjoyed the serene setting of Maine’s island-riddled coast. I think I could see an open path to the high sea through a gap between a few islands, but it’s hard to be sure. There are just so many bays, islands and peninsulas, it confuses my mind.
After dallying on the rocks for some time, we walked along the Casco Bay Trail to the northeast towards Googins Island, where about 25 people were spread out on flat rocks along the water picnicking or just hanging out. It was a nice spot. A shallow stretch of water about 100’ across separated us all from Googins Island, but the island is off limits to humans because it’s an osprey nesting area. We continued north along the shoreline to the White Pine Trail, which we followed around a nice, grassy field. When we returned to the parking lot, we retreated to the nice grassy field and staked out a sunny picnic table to have lunch on. Halfway through lunch, the sun movement shaded the table, so we moved to a sunnier table to keep warm. It wasn’t cold, but just a bit chilly in the shade.
Wolfe’s Neck Woods, at only 200 acres,
is not a large park, and I hesitate to call our activities there “hiking”…more
like pleasant walking. But to have a natural area of that size along the
coast so close to a large town like Freeport is exceptional, especially
in the east. I was impressed, and happy we visited. It’s worth pointing
out that this park was created in 1969 from land donated to the state by
Lawrence Smith and his wife. That’s generosity on a scale I can barely
fathom, and I’m so thankful for their gift. After lunch, we walked over
to the car and headed inland to Bradbury Mountain.
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