Underwood Springs Forest Preserve, Falmouth
Let me start by stating the obvious - it's icy out there. You may choose to avoid all trails right now, and I wouldn't blame you. For me, I need the woods like a need my morning coffee. It keeps me grounded, gives me energy, and feeds my soul.
I also have a dog who only behaves when she's off-leash in the forest. Trying to walk Romy around the neighborhood on a leash is about as easy as pushing a giant boulder up a large hill. I was not meant to tell anyone what to do and she is not about to be tied down by a short leash. She craves freedom and space to roam. As so often happens, I've met my match in my dog.
If you do choose to brave the ice, this trail is relatively flat, and was covered in snow when I visited about a week ago. It is a lovely loop at about a mile long. The perfect place for some quick forest bathing in 52-acres of tranquil woods.
This preserve contains approximately 2,000 feet of stream corridor on Norton Brook, a tributary of Mill Creek that flows into Casco Bay. It is ecologically rich with wildlife, unique vegetation, and habitat for coastal species. Thankfully, it was recently protected through valiant efforts and donations from the community.
Here is what these woods like like in the summer, when mushroom staircases, ferns and moss fill the place. Something to look forward to in a few, short months.
For now, onward to Seek'em hunting in the snow.
Parking for this trailhead is located at the Friends School of Portland off of Route 1 near Falmouth. The exact address is 11 U.S. Route One, Cumberland Foreside. When you pull into the parking lot, take a right into the side parking lot. In the far corner, you will find two parking signs designated for the Underwood Springs Forest Preserve. From these signs, head to the right where you will see a large kiosk for the preserve.
We followed the loop clockwise, starting on the white trail, connecting with green, then back to white for the outermost loop. Take it whichever way calls to you. To find our Seek'em, I'll give you directions starting clockwise, since that's the route we took. Follow the loop about 3/4 of the way around. Just after the green trail has re-connected with white, look for a stump in the middle of the trail. You literally can not miss it.
Now, look to the left of the stump and you will find our Seek'em tucked into a tree on the side of the trail.
He looks a bit claustrophobic. Maybe I should have given him more freedom to roam like the rest of us. Unfortunately, he has no arms or legs, so he'll be sitting tight until you come along...and move him to a part of the tree where he has more space.
Good luck on the hunt and don't forget your microspikes!