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Maine Nature Walk: Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston
The beckoning trail
A walk a week in Maine Nature
My wife and I decided we are going to try and go for a walk a week somewhere in Maine. We are huge fans of the wilderness and can never get enough of all the wonders of Maine. We are starting off by finding trails that are near us, especially if we have not heard of them before. Also, we are trying to find stroller friendly trails since we have a little 7 month old with us. Though we have a pouch we can put him in if it is not a good enough terrain.
This weeks Walk surprised us. We were initially surprised because we did not know there was anywhere to go for a nature walk in Lewiston, let alone in 372 acres of sanctuary.
Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary
In Lewiston Maine, you would think as you drive through, there is nothing but building and business, and no end of roads. I can easily get myself turned around trying to get from point A to point B there.
So when we drove up to our destination for the current weeks walk we were amazed when we pulled into a parking lot highlighting the woods ahead.
We were not sure how the trails were going to be so I did not have the stroller, But I plan on taking it when we go back because the path itself was not that bad. Just a few root obstacles here and there. Nothing we could not bounce over.
You start off at a good sized trail kiosk. I grabbed a little pamphlet on frequently asked questions and grabbed a copy of the trail maps. I was expecting one trail that lead up and back. To my astonishment there were a few interwoven trails and some landmarks along the way.
Reading the pamphlet I found this Nature walk was around to be just that, A Nature walk. There are shallow ponds dug throughout for the primary purpose of having an area for amphibians. Judging by the pamphlet and the wildlife checklist on it, there is no end to the critters you can see there. A good amount of birds can be found on your travels. Why not this is a sanctuary maintained by the Bird Club.
We picked a direction to go, based on the fact that we had until sunrise before the gate closed and the sun was begining to dip. Partway in we found that the sound of the roads nearby faded, being buffered by the thick wood. The parking lot was almost full, yet we only passed one or two people on our adventure.
We did however see wildlife. A family of groundhogs played around the head of the trail. I watched a Thrush hop around us for a little while before darting off after who knows what. As we rounded a corner of one trail we heard something and I looked over to see a Doe skipping about in the woods heading into a little dip. It then stood there thinking we did not see it. Only when I took a good look at the picture I took did I realize the Doe was nursing, so a little faun was probably skipping about with its mother.
Monuments to previous Thorncrag or Bird Club Members
Monuments of Previous benefactors
About half a mile into the walk a fireplace stands surrounded by stone seating. This is a monument to the original benefactors who donated land to the sanctuary.
Throughout the walk there is a monument here and there. A bench that on a clear day you can look at Mt. Washington. There is even ruins of the old farmhouse from the 1800s.
This is a great place for a family to come. It is packed with mystery. The forest has no end to the questions that will arise from your child as they pass an old stone seat, moss covered and weathered. Giant trees that loom over the young growth. I stood there for a little bit, looking at the different aged trees and tried to imagine all the different events that took place.
The shallow pools were not much to look at, but they were specifically dug for for the benefit of the wildlife, and the tracks layering the outside of the pools and the little tiny eyes poking out of the water atoned for it. Your kids will have a grand time trying to discern one track from another, let alone trying to figure out what all the little eyes belong to.
I am amazed and humbled that this place exists. That it was envisioned as a sanctuary for the benefit of nature and its participants.
On a side note, I plan on taking up running again. This would be a great place for a nice run.