On a Sunday in early April 2021, Hannah and I notice cars parked by the side of the Route 103 as we approach Kittery coming from York. The collection of vehicles has the feel of a Sunday afternoon family gathering in this rural shoreline part of York.
Little do we know until this morning, we have two to three miles of farmland paths wide enough for a 19th century wagon to easily pass through the shoreline forest of oaks and firs. We’ve lived here for nearly forty years and never knew that this unmarked trail existed.
Parking roadside one hundred yards from the trailhead, Hannah and I have the tidal river to our right and are freewheeling straight ahead on what appears to be a one-time farm lane, easily wide enough for two.
As shoreline trails in southern Maine often are, this farm lane skirts the expanding tidal creek without much gain in elevation. The trail that would handle a four wheeler doesn’t appear to have seen mountain bikes or motorized vehicles of any sort.
A freshwater stream crosses our path, but a few well placed rocks allow us to easily step across.
Maybe a mile and a half in, we take the hard right towards the tidal river.
Passing the Payne Cemetery, we walk out on a marshland berm with the mudflats and the wetlands bracketing the trail. Soon we are looking over to the Kittery shore, not far from the Cutts Island Trail (Click here for that blog.).
Doubling back on this 55F degree morning, we hike on our own until near the trailhead we we run into a woman with her free-ranging, friendly dog. Not a fan of out-of-control canines, I even pet this amiable golden retriever.
Fifty minutes later we return to the unmarked trailhead knowing we have found a hiking jewel for families and nature lovers who come to visit us. Please do.
Ten days later we hike this same trail with our local friend Karen.