This is a guest post written by Enock Glidden, Public Speaker, Adaptive Athlete and Adventurer. To learn more about Enock, please visit his website.
After a friend told me about the awesome new accessible adventures feature on Maine Trail Finder, I decided to try it out.
My family and I love the coast. We checked out the map and picked Boothbay Region Land Trust's Oak Point Farm as our destination for the day. The trail page said they had an accessible trail that would take us down to Hodgdon Cove. This sounded like the perfect day getaway.
I should say before I get too far into my trip report that I am a manual wheelchair user and adaptive athlete. I have good upper body strength which may make it easier for me to push on trails than someone with less strength.
When we arrived at the farm we parked in the upper parking lot not realizing there was accessible parking down the hill by the Visitor Center. If you drive a bit further you will see a sign. I think a sign before the first parking lot would have been helpful. The accessible parking also is not very big so you may find it occupied on busy days. There was a porta-potty across the street from the parking lot but it wasn’t accessible. I inquired about this and they informed they tried to get one but it hasn’t arrived yet.
I went to check out the visitors center for a bathroom but it was closed since it was the day after the 4th of July. I will try to check the bathrooms next time around.
The Accessible Trail starts right off the accessible parking lot and winds its way behind the Visitor Center. After crossing a bridge, the trail enters a field. Unfortunately the bridge has to be built to code so the railings make it difficult to see anything to the sides of the bridge. The surface is hard-packed and very easy to roll my chair on. The trail is going to loop around the freshwater pond once finished but for now it goes straight to the cove and back. On the way back it is uphill and for those of us with less strength I could see it being a bit difficult to come back without help.
On the way back if you turn right where the field has a mowed path you will venture into the woods trail. The mowed portion of the trail has some small hills and is a bit rutted in places so be sure to watch out for that. Otherwise it was quite easy to push across that section.
Once into the woods the surface becomes hard again with the occasional tree root system. It can be helpful to do a wheelie from time to time to get over the roots. I did need a push a couple times for some small steeper sections with roots.
After a short stroll through the wooded area, the pond appears. I wish I had gotten better pictures of this transition. I will keep that in mind for next time. The trail surface is very hard around the pond. It almost looked like pavement and it might be. It is super flat and very easy to push through that section. We saw a lot of ducks, a turtle and some beautiful water lilies.
The bridge at the end of the pond has an approximately 2 inch lip to push over to get up on it. It really just needs to be leveled off and it wouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t super hard to transition but it may take some help.
Instead of finishing the loop around the pond we chose to go right. This takes you back into the woods on the Story Trail. Of course as usual I chose the harder direction. I would recommend starting at the other end of the trail right off the upper parking lot if you are doing to do the Story Trail. That way it is basically all downhill and would make the entire trail system quite easily hiked from a manual wheelchair. As it was we started from the lower end and finished at the beginning. The Story Trail in this direction has quite a lot of roots and is mostly uphill. Although it wasn't hard pushing for most of it I definitely needed a helping push now and then. The roots are not very big and are easily wheeled over if you can do a wheelie in most cases. At the very end it does get steeper and I needed some help with that part.
All that being said, if you start at the beginning and make your way around the pond back to the Visitor Center this would be a very easy place for most wheelchair users to have a relaxing day by the coast.
All photos courtesy of Enock Glidden.
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