Spears Hill Trail at Broad Cove Reserve, Cumberland
If the idea of searching for a festive tree in the middle of a quiet wooded trail leading to a beach pulls at your heart and adventure strings, read on...
The Chebeague Cumberland Land Trust opened the Spears Hill Trail at Broad Cove Reserve in June. This trail is the final piece to connect the 1.5 mile loop trail around this gorgeous CCLT-protected property, which features the only public coastal access trail in Cumberland. For a map and more details on this trail, visit CCLT's website here: https://www.ccltmaine.org/broad-cove-reserve
Located in Cumberland Foreside off of route 88 near the intersection of Tuttle road, this reserve offers a stretch of sandy beach, a dock, meadows, woods and horseshoe crab spawning in late May/early June. Broad Cove Reserve was once the site of important fishing grounds for the Abenaki people. Later, it served as the Cumberland town farm. Now managed by the Town and CCLT, it welcomes public access. Dogs are prohibited from the beach, but are allowed on the trail as long as they're on leash. For pictures of this trail in the summertime, visit here.
We did hide a Seek'em for you on this trail, but there is a winter solstice tree for you to discover first. It's a holiday two-fer.
As part of CCLT's monthly Get Out! Nature Walk, volunteers Tyler McGinley and Gretchen McCloy adorned this tree with carefully crafted bird treats and ornaments as a way to welcome the winter solstice. Below the tree, is a container with a children's book, "The Shortest Day". There is something for the kids, the birds and the adults here...and there's more. But first, let me tell you how to find this magical haven for glutinous birds.
Park in the lot to the right as you enter Beach Drive from Route 88. From there, walk back towards the main entrance (near route 88) to find the Stonewall trailhead on the right. This will connect with the Spears Hill trail, where you'll find the solstice tree on the left side of the trail, just after walking down these steps.
Continue onto this trail, which winds down towards the cove. After descending a long set of stairs, then crossing a small bridge over a stream, start looking for our Seek'em. This photo was taken as I looked back from where we came. For you, the water will be on the left.
Once you've crossed this bridge, search through the small tree to the right and look inside the bark. Hopefully this fella will still be hanging on for dear life. Or at least smiling maniacally on the ground somewhere.
This trail will end at the boardwalk leading down to the beach. Once you've taken it all in and had your fill, follow Beach Road back to your car, rounding out the full 1.3 mile loop.
Yesterday was the solstice, our shortest day. I've been ready for sleep around 7:00 these dark days and feeling pretty low-energy overall, but I think that's because this is the season for slowing down - a time for recovery. If you're laughing out loud as you read this, I'm right there with you. I mean, it is the holidays. Last night I was wrapping gifts between answering texts about xmas plans, sending work emails and burning dinner. Slowing down is something I'm constantly working on. But sinking in, getting quiet and taking a break from all the doing, that's what the short days ask of us. The energy and inspiration will eventually return. And if we allow a season of down time, we'll be ready when they do.
Until then, find yourself a slow, quiet walk on this beautiful trail with all sorts of surprises. A happy, healthy holidays to you. Thanks for continuing to read this blog and for being part of this little outdoor community.