Alewife Woods Preserve, Kennebunk
Let's start with the bad news.
I did not hide a Seek'em for you here, because I forgot to bring one with me. I did however, remember to bring all 6 kids that I was responsible for on the day we came here. I also returned them all safely, so will go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for that.
The good news, there is something pretty spectacular for you to find here. It was born here, is thriving here, and adds to the beauty of this quiet place. Here it is:
A tree surrounded by an orange blanket of mushrooms. I've never seen anything quite like it and the kids were in awe as well. I'll tell you how to find it, but let's first talk about this preserve.
The Kennebunk Land Trust lists this as "the crown jewel of KLT properties". With over 625 acres of land, a 45-acre pond, and 2.5 miles of easy to moderate trails, it is quite the place. Dogs are allowed here, which always makes us happy. This is a great place for cross-country skiing and bird watching, along with hiking of course.
There is a parking lot and kiosk at the entrance to this trailhead, located off of Cole Road in Kennebunk. The distance from Portland is about 35 minutes...just enough time for a podcast, road coffee and some quiet kids in the back seat (on a good day!).
We took the red trail, which winds through tall red pine. There are several opportunities to take other trails along the way, but we stuck with the red blazes to ensure we wouldn't get lost.
After what felt like a long time, the red trail connects with the blue trail, which eventually leads down to the pond.
Somewhere just before reaching the pond, you will find our tree surrounded with mushrooms, just to the left of the trail.
Once at the pond, enjoy the view from one of the benches. A couple of the kids brought their fishing poles, so that is also an option.
It started to rain while we were here, but the kids saw it as an opportunity to build a shelter. Just one more reason to love kids, they embrace all kinds of weather.
On our way out, one of the kids discovered this little frog hiding in a tree. I would have never noticed it because of the way it blended in with the tree bark. Kids, they notice the smallest details. When I hike with kids, they help me to be more aware of nature's details...the ones that I often miss as a result of my distracted mind. They help me stay in the moment. Something they just naturally do.