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Changing Tides - A Visit to Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park

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Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park Stairs Freeport Maine

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.

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park Freeport Maine Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park Freeport Maine

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.

  Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park Freeport Maine Shore

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!

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park Freeport Maine

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…

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