On our last day of vacation was not beach weather in Maine, so we decided to venture up to Wells where the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is (and Congdon Donuts!). We picked up some donuts and easily found the refuge. I vaguely remembered visiting this place as a kid but I wasn't sure. I know my parents took us on many walks when we visited Maine and I was pretty sure we had stopped here.
We pulled into the parking lot and there were a few other vehicles there. As we unloaded we noticed there were a few mosquitoes buzzing us. We grabbed the camera bag, dog and baby carrier and found a map with trail guide at the trail head.
The one-mile loop has eleven checkpoints and the guide gave us information on the ecosystem and the vistas that we would see. The path was a hard packed gravel trail. We did wander by some young people who were clearly doing clean up of the trails given that they had hedge trimmers, clippers and volunteer shirts on. The path was beautiful and well maintained.
Our first stop was to view the edge of the marsh. The woods was cool and moist from the rain overnight. Quickly we realized that those few mosquitoes in the parking lot had brothers and sisters. Big Dude and I were getting eaten alive! For experienced hikers we had made the error of not bringing bug spray with us. The Little Dude was okay. Apparently the bugs liked aged humans better.
We wandered down the path through hemlocks and pines. The ground was covered in gorgeous ferns. We could catch glimpses of the marsh through the trees.
After walking briskly through the trees we emerged to see a tidal creek meandering through the marsh. It was fantastic to see how the banks had been cut up by the water. These creeks mix with fresh and salt water.
Further out were the salt pannes which we discovered were low areas in the marsh that hold the water as the tide falls. These ponds were terrific for bird watching.
When we found our 6th stop on the guide we paused to let Little Dude out to wander a bit and so we could scratch our bug bites. There was a nice sitting area in the sun where we snapped some family photos. The view was lovely
Through the walk, Big Dude had been narrating from the trail guide for us as we moved down the path. We realized he bugs were not going to get better so we decided the second half of the hike would be done very quickly. Essentially we would speedwalk, see the check point in the distance, he would read while walking, we would briefly stop so I could snap a photo, and move on.
The trail really was lovely. I wish that we had been prepared with bug spray. Usually we keep some in our car but we had just removed it from the week before. On the ride out Big Dude counted 30+ bites on my legs that he could see while I was driving. I was terribly itching. Little Dude had only one or two. Thank goodness.
Where: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Web Info: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/rachel_carson/
Directions: 321 Port Road, Wells, Maine 04090
The refuge entrance is located on Port Road (Route 9) in Wells and just minutes from exit 19 on I-95.
- From exit 19, turn left onto Route 9/Route109.
- At stop light, turn left onto Post Road (Route 1 North).
- Just past the Maine Diner, turn right onto Port Road (Route 9) and follow for approximately ¾ mile
- Turn right into the refuge entrance.