Evergreen Cemetary Trails, Portland
A rainbow of trail blaze colors...
I chose the woods behind Evergreen Cemetary for this week's trail challenge for two reasons:
I've been spending more time here since getting a ticket for my "Dog at Large" in Baxter Woods, where we used to walk her. They have a new leash law, so Romy was actually a "dog off-leash". Or as I pointed out to the park ranger who wrote the ticket, she was really just a "large dog walking". He did not appreciate my humor, but I kept trying in attempts to lighten the exchange. I'm pretty sure the poor man did not get into the forestry business to slap tickets on nice dog owners. I felt for the guy.
These miles of woods include a rainbow of different trail colors...minus orange, the best color in my opinion. Henry and I thought it would be fun to leave a Seek'em on every color in honor of Pride Month. I ended up hiding 4 Seek'ems and hitting the blue, green, red, black and purple trails. We came close and will go with the idea that it's the thought that counts.
To be completely honest, I get turned around in these woods all the time. I've spent countless hours in here and am truly in awe of the fact that I continue to find myself on new sections of trail...and sometimes find myself lost, STILL. That is why I love these woods. They are extensive, interesting and a real challenge! They include easy sections as well as rock boulders for climbing and difficult mountain biking. The woods are shady, filled with bird sounds, ancient trees and green ferns. It's heavenly in here, and many people have no idea it even exists.
Now I will attempt to walk you though the route Finn and I took this morning as we hid our Seek'ems. Full disclosure, this may be a wild goose chase since, as I said earlier, I get a bit lost in these woods and only knew where we were 65 percent of the time this morning. Ok, 45 percent.
I will do my best to lead you to to the Seek'ems, but finding one will be an accomplishment and will certainly count for the completion of this challenge. Find all four and I will assume you have magical powers. Ok, let's go.
Park at the end of Brentwood Street, near the community garden.
There is a small path that starts just to the right of this garden and heads downhill before winding right towards the woods.
You will pass a beautiful patch of lupine on the right near the bottom of this hill. Take in the view and thank the Lupine Lady. Side note, I just learned that there actually was a lady who spread lupine seeds all over Maine, so the story was based on truth. That just feels good to know. :)
Now would be a good time for me to share a map with you, which you will also find at most intersections along these trails - THANK YOU Portland Trails!
As you can see here, we've started out on the blue trail. Once you've arrived at the intersection of blue and green (red dot above), look for our first Seek'em behind the map post.
Stay left on green (clockwise), until you've reached the red trail. Once at red, go left and you will see this tree with a red blaze straight in front of you.
Look inside the tree for our Seek'em.
From here, go right, which will take you on a short black trail, then left on green, which leads down to the white trail. If you get lost, just try to find your way down the hill towards your left until you reach the white trail...there are multiple access points. This area is called the ledges and is filled with large rocks and boulders. All kinds of fun for climbing and exploring, so try not to skip this part!
Once you've reached the bottom of the hill, you will be on the white trail and will see another map. Go right on the white trail until you see a trail on right that goes back uphill...pictured here.
Before you head uphill, find another Seek'em, just past the downed tree at the base of the trail, tucked inside this tree stump.
Once you've reached the top of this hill, connect with the red trail again, this time taking a left. From here we followed red all the way to the yellow trail, which took us along some nice bridges and past the short trail that leads to the turtle pond.
Once the yellow trail connected back with the green trail, we took a right, leading us to the purple trail. The purple trail is where we hid our final Seek'em, in the most incredible natural gnome fort I've seen.
Purple connects back with green (take a left here), which leads back to blue and hopefully, to your car. WILD, wild goose chase. If your head is spinning, so is mine. This was also a surprisingly long journey for Finn and I...especially since it happened before school.
My advice, just come to these glorious woods and enjoy getting lost for a while. Find some Seek'ems or don't. Then add in a visit with the egrets and snapping turtles at the cemetary ponds that live next to these trails.
I LOVE these woods and do hope you enjoy exploring them. Maybe you'll find your rainbow, or at least some rejuvenation from the forest bathing.