Hey hikers! This trail adventure was very unique, in the sense that I encountered some things I had never seen before. I had a few moments of "why did they do it that way." It all made for a both fun and challenging day in the woods. This fun adventure was at Ferry Landing Trail in Saco. I chose this one, as always, based on the MTF description. This time, the MTF information was quite descriptive. It mentions the boardwalks and gives the relative locations as to where they are. It provides pretty good directions, and landmarks to look for, along with telling people they will see tupelo trees. I had never heard of a tupelo tree, so that made me want to see them. I also found in my research that the Camp Ellis loop trail has Tupelo swamps, and looks to be a really good trail. I am going to check that out this coming year.
When I first arrived, I was a bit confused because it looks like you are parking in someone's front yard. There is a very tiny parking area at the end of a dirt road, which has room for about 3 cars if they park tight together. As you can see in the photo, there is a house off to the right of the road. You literally have to hike right by the side of the house.
It was also a bit confusing because the trailhead sign was hidden by brush and plants. This made it basically impossible to read from a wheelchair, since I couldn’t even get close to it.
After checking the MTF map to make sure I was in the right place, I took off down the road past the white house on the right. Since this first part is a road, it was very easy going. I had no trouble at all.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t my last "Huh?" moment with this particular boardwalk. I soon came to this “temporary” fix for missing boards. It literally says "temporary" on the boards, as you can see in the photo. Again no big deal, I just did a little wheelie and went right over.
After that, I could see where they had properly replaced some boards and the boardwalk was really great.
The next boardwalk I came to had yet another "Huh?" moment. It seemed almost as if a different person had made each boardwalk, without talking to each other about how they wanted to do it. This one was really interesting. Also, I want to apologize for the blurry pictures, I am going to slow down next year and check each picture before I move on!
This particular boardwalk had a section missing at the end of the ramp that exits the boardwalk. I am not sure if these boards running parallel to the route of travel were there when the boardwalk was built, or if they added them when the section was removed.
Again, for me no big deal. This isn’t a large step, so I could just hop down off the boardwalk to the ground. It could definitely be a tripping hazard for some people however.
The next boardwalk is also a thought provoking situation. The entry ramp was really well done. It even had grip paper or maybe shingles on it to prevent slipping.
It was the exit ramp from this boardwalk that gave me pause. I just couldn’t understand how one end could be so well done and the other end look like it was just thrown together.
The trail is wide throughout and mostly obstacle free. There were a few tree stumps, roots, and rocks, but I was able to go around them.
There are also bog bridges mentioned on MTF, and I did find some. Luckily, I was there during one of the few dry spans of weather we had this year and I was able to just straddle them without doing any damage to the trail.
I found the rest spots that are mentioned in the MTF description. They were pretty well done, one was even built into a boardwalk.
Basically the boardwalks just need to be redone as they seem quite old, their age may account for most of the issues that I saw. I wouldn’t let this discourage you from trying this trail, it really is a beautiful place to find peace and solitude. You would never know you are a few hundred feet from hundreds of houses along Camp Ellis Beach.
With the wet weather we had this year, this was also a prime spot for mushrooms. There were hundreds of Ghost Pipes everywhere.
If you have a different type of mobility issue or a different disability and you visit this trail or others, please comment on this post and give us your feedback. The more knowledge we gather and share, the more people we can get outside using the trails of Maine!
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