FATHER’S DAY AT WOLFE’S NECK WOODS STATE PARK

There are two places in Maine that my husband, Clif, especially loves—Acadia National Park, which is a bit too far for a comfortable day trip, and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, which is within easy driving distance of Winthrop. Given that the weather is nice, Wolfe’s Neck is where Clif always wants to go for a Father’s Day outing. This year, the weather was splendid, and to Freeport we went.

Unfortunately, our son-in-law, Mike, had to work that day, but our daughter Shannon was free, and she joined us for a picnic and a hike at Wolfe’s Neck. Also, the park allows dogs, which meant we were able to bring Liam. For his special meal, Clif requested potato salad and chicken, and Shannon brought cold, baked chicken that had a spicy rub. I made the “best-ever” potato salad, and the two went together perfectly. (I would have liked some fruit or a green salad to go with the picnic, but Clif was the one who chose the meal, and chicken and potato salad were all that he wanted.)

Clif showing Shannon his father's day present---a watch---from Dee.

After we picnicked, we went for a hike on some of the trails. As the park’s brochure puts it, the trails go through “a wooded peninsula, the ‘neck’ of land between the Harraseeket River and Casco Bay.” So there is water and woods, and on the day we went, the last of the lady slippers were still in bloom. I especially love these delicate, elegant flowers, and I was sorry that they were nearly gone by. Still, it was good to see even a few of the late bloomers, and the woods must have been speckled with pink a week or so ago.

A lady's slipper

Now, we have hiked in Wolfe’s Neck for many years. Usually we start with the trail that goes along Casco Bay, where we can see the island with the Osprey nest. From there we follow a loop that takes us by the Harraseeket River and then inland back to the parking lot. The terrain is a little rough and steep, and although it is slow going for me because of my arthritic knees, the hike is one I can handle.

Into the woods

For some reason, we didn’t start at the osprey nest, the way we usually do, and later, we couldn’t figure out if we got turned around or if the trails had been changed because of winter blow downs. Whatever the case, the forest seemed to hold us in its grip, and we marched in what felt like an endless circle. For nearly three hours, up and down we went, over rocks and roots. My knees, my feet, and one of my hips really hurt, but we couldn’t find our way out. A young woman, blonde, pretty, and fit, passed us many times. A golden retriever accompanied her, and each time the woman whizzed by us, she made a perky acknowledgment.

“Humph,” I said to myself, as bright and cheery, she passed us yet again. “I bet she’s doing this for fun and exercise while we trudge on, unable to find our way out.” I’m ashamed to admit this, but I found myself resenting her buoyant energy.

Finally we found our way back to the parking lot, where cold water waited for us in the car. As luck would have it, we passed by the perky blonde’s car, just as she and her dog were getting into it. “Phew!” She called out. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get out of those woods.”

So she was lost, too. My resentment instantly vanished, and although my knees and feet were sore, I laughed right along with Shannon and Clif.

Then off we went, to Shaw’s Supermarket for strawberry Popsicles. With the windows rolled down, we ate them in the car in the parking lot, and those Popsicles certainly tasted good. Liam got the last bits on our sticks, and it seemed as though he thought they tasted good, too.

All in all, a fine day, even though we got a little lost in the woods.

 

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