Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Peninsula near Freeport

Sitting on a peninsula between the rocky shorelines on Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River, about 3 miles from downtown Freeport, Maine is a 200-acre park of varied ecosystems, including climax white pine and hemlock forests, a salt marsh estuary, and craggy beaches.  Contrasting with commercial bustle of the outlets and restaurants is the quiet and relative seclusion within the park.  Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence M.C. Smith in 1969.

Following our hikes earlier in July at Crawford Notch and Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, our July 26th hike was well within the category of "easy."  Our hike started along the shoreline of Casco Bay, which featured sedimentary rock outcroppings, gravely beaches, and an osprey sanctuary on a near-shore island.  The second half was the cross-peninsula Harraseeket Trail, which skirted above the banks of the Harraseeket River.

The Casco Bay Trail
Skirting the shoreline, the trail connects to the rocky beaches on the bay.
The gravely beach along Casco Bay.
The rock outcroppings on the beach, with Googins Island in the background.
Marine growth on the outcrops in the intertidal zone.
Closeup of the layers of the sedimentary outcropping.

The Harraseeket Trail
The cross-peninsula Harraseeket Trail traverses a relatively flat terrain mostly in a mixed canopy.  After crossing Wolf Neck Road, the trail approaches the river, staying 20 to 30 feet above the shoreline.

Hiking through the woods of Wolfe's Neck.
Fern groundcover in a sunny break in the forest canopy.
Glimpses of the Harraseeket River 
The Harraseeket River as seen from the namesake trail

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