I recently moved back to my hometown of Freeport, Maine after living in upstate New York for the past 15 years. Being back in your hometown as an adult is such a strange experience. I’ve made occasional visits back over the years, but there is nothing like being fully immersed in a place that you so strongly associate with your youth. I’ve been slowly exploring and rediscovering places that felt more like dreams from a past life, existing only in my memories. It’s been mostly delightful, sometimes jarring, and often things are not as I had remembered (due to a combination of the place changing, me changing and general memory fog). I took advantage of the fresh, sunny spring day to revisit a place I have very fond memories of, but haven’t visited in quite a while, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park.
It’s a beautiful park tucked into the woods at the edge of the water, less than 3 miles from where I am living. I used to go there often throughout high school and when I was home from college. I would pack a backpack with snacks and a book and spend hours reading and sunning myself on a large rock off the side of the trail, overlooking the Harraseeket side of the peninsula. I expected to easily find the rock today, but couldn’t seem to locate it. Maybe I usually came at it from the other direction of the trail, or the tide made it look different, or maybe I passed it without even noticing.
Due to “mud season”, the gates to the park were closed, but visitors can park on Wolfe’s Neck Road and walk in. I wasn’t sure if there was anyone collecting an entrance fee yet, but I brought some cash just in case. The little entrance booth was empty, but I dutifully dropped my $4 in the cash box. I’ll purchase a Maine State Park Season Pass soon, which I am certain will pay for itself in no time. I took the Harraseeket Trail, which alternates between winding through the woods and hugging the seaweed-strewn shore, with lots of good spots to walk down to the rocks below and bask in the sun.
The tide was fairly low and was coming in (which I learned the hard way). After being away for so long, I forgot how fast the tide comes in. I was relaxing on one of the rocky outcroppings, and when I got up to leave I had a brief moment of panic as I saw the path I had taken was now covered in about a foot of water. I certainly could have waded through if necessary, but that obviously wasn’t the ideal option in mid-March Maine. It was a gorgeous sunny day, but that didn’t mean I wanted to walk through shin-deep water (water that is known to be quite icy even in the height of summer). So I scaled a steep, smooth rock for a short distance until I found a place to awkwardly scamper back up onto the trail, making a mental note to keep a better eye on the tides and hoping no one was watching.
I’ve been tinkering with a new ear climber style (I’ve been referring to it as “The Scribble”) and figured this would be a good chance to take it for a test drive. I’m happy to report they performed very well! I was most concerned with making sure they would stay up on the ear, since they are a little longer than my other styles. I didn’t have to make any adjustments though, and they stayed up with no problem. Of course as I was down by the shore I thought what a beautiful background it would make for some ‘ear selfies’ of the new style. I tried to take some discreetly without looking like a total jerk vainly taking photos of myself (cue me forgetting about tides and having to scramble up the hillside here). Bottom line, I was very pleased with the way “The Scribble” felt and stayed put during hiking, windy conditions and hillside scampering. I think they will definitely be making their way into my shop soon!
I took the 1.8 mile trail at a leisurely pace and was back to by car in about 2 hours, although I could have lingered for much longer. There were a lot more cars there when I went to leave (around 2 PM) but it still didn’t feel swamped. Wolfe’s Neck Park is dog-friendly (leash required), and I did see plenty of dogs enjoying the trails as well. I didn’t see any ospreys this time, but did spot a nest. Ospreys are known to build nests along the shorelines here and on the little islands off the shore, so it seems like a decent “birder’s destination” as well. The park is open daily year-round from 9 AM to sunset, and there is a small fee to get in. You can read more about Wolfe’s Neck State Park here. I would definitely recommend getting a season pass if you go more than a few times a year, and it will get you into most Maine state parks (with a few exceptions). I just checked online and it’s currently $35 for Maine residents, which seems like a great price. More about the park passes here. I’m looking forward to going back on weekdays throughout the spring (and very excited that my schedule allows for that now!) as I think it will be even more peaceful. I just need to remember to check the tide charts before I go…