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Hiking Great Wass Island Preserve Beals, Maine

A Paradise In Maine – Part 1

 

Parking Area

Parking Area

 

After the close of another season, on this late November day we finally had some time to journey outside Camden Maine’s network of hiking trails. Nearly a decade has gone by since our last visit to this memorable Down East gem and this time around do to our familiarity of the trails we had family and friends join us.

Getting an early start is a must at this time of year as darkness falls early. After a 1 hr. 45 min. ride we cross the bridge over the Moosabec Reach to Beals Island, continue on to Great Wass Island following the signs along the gravel road to the preserve.

Hiking the 5.5 mile Great Wass Island Preserve loop will take up to 5 hrs round trip. That allows a little time for beach combing, woodland discoveries and a brief lunch. This preserve is chock full of rare plants, peatlands, wildlife and is highlighted with a picturesque granite shoreline.

Starting Out

Starting Out

We start by taking the Little Cape Point Trail and wind through the forest southeasterly for 2 miles.  Blue blazes mark the trial.

Moss Covered Forest

Moss Covered Forest

Lichen

Lichen

Beautiful mounds of moss and pillowy lichen carpet the rockery and forest floor along the way. Half way through the trail the forest opens to a long stretch of exposed smooth granite. From here a vista of the unique coastal-raised bog with its carnivorous plants comes into view. Incredible!

A Pause On One Of many Boardwalks

A Pause On One Of Many Boardwalks

As the trail continues we reach a narrow boardwalk that runs through a swamp, a known comfortable home here for thoese carnivorous pitcher plants.

Little Cape Point Trail Head

Little Cape Point Trail Head

The trail ends at the shore with breathtaking views of the seemingly endless miles of granite disappearing into the cold blue sea.

Reaching The shore

Reaching The Shore

A Southerly View

A Southerly View

This time around the tide was in so we were forced to walk the grassy shore here which seemed to contain more deer droppings than blades of grass.

Walking The Shoreline

Walking The Shoreline

In order to connect with the Mud Hole Trail  to complete the loop, you must walk the 2 miles of shoreline northerly from the Little Cape Point Trail. We continue along the shore to Little Cape Point where we had fond memories  from our last trip of  watching harbor seals playing near the shore.

Reaching The Shore

Enjoying The Scenery

Following the shoreline toward the point we marvel at the beauty of the clear emerald colored water lying calmly in small picturesque coves.

Walking The Loop At Cape Cove

Walking The Loop At Cape Cove

At the end of the cove the trail now continues upward over rocks and tree roots. A knotted rope aides in climbing the hill to access Little Cape Point.

A Knotted Rope Aides Climbing

A Little Help

Over And Up

Over And Up

Nearing the half-way point!

To be continued… see Part 2 . Click  for a map and directions to the beautiful Great Wass Island Preserve.  You may also read detailed information through The Nature Conservancy In Maine‘s website.

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