Hey hikers! I was just looking through my phone picture gallery trying to decide which trail adventure I wanted to write about next. It is interesting how things blend together, I didn’t realize how many trails I had done on that particular day. Grant’s Meadow is my choice this time around. This story is more about my whole experience there, rather than just about the trail.
As always, I chose this trail based on the MTF description. It just sounded like a really interesting place to explore.
Upland forest interspersed with vernal pools yields to the important and fragile wetlands of Beaver Dam Heath, home to animals needing extensive range and diverse habitat to thrive. The 145-acre Grant’s Meadow preserve is located in the northwest portion of the 1600-acre heath.
It doesn’t describe the trail at all, which is another reason I wanted to check it out - it needs a description! The length of the trail is listed on MTF as being a 0.6-mile loop. My app gave me a distance of 0.69 miles.
When I arrived I found a really great parking lot. It is flat, firm, and not rough.
The kiosk is really well done, although is it a bit high off the ground for reading from a seated position. It has a beautifully done map that is large which makes it easier to see. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a trail description on the kiosk. It does include a lot of interesting information about wildlife and about the preserve overall.
As you enter the trail it is very wide. It has a natural woods type surface with grass and tree debris. The trees are cut back giving a wide width.
Getting further along the trail, it looks less wide due to the warn path of people walking in the middle. But it is actually just as wide throughout, it just isn’t cut back and groomed across the entire width of the trail farther along. I call it a goat path. I was able to straddle the goat path and still have a clear path to allow my wheels to roll along the surface. It wasn’t easy due to the debris and softer surface, but it was manageable.
There are the usual obstacles, including small stumps left from cut trees, roots, and rocks. All of this can be mitigated by the width of the trail, providing passage around the obstacles.
OK so I guess I did end up writing specifically about the trail, but the overall experience was awesome too. As Sandy, who had come along, and I were going through a particularly crowded section of growth we, heard what sounded like a very large animal. After a moment of "OK, what do we do now?" and looking around, we decided to move on. We were definitely looking around a lot more the rest of the hike, "with our heads on a swivel" as they say. We never did encounter anything, but unless it was a squirrel making a great lot of racket, it sounded like a large animal. If you check out the description on the GWRLT site they do mention coyotes. It seems unlikely a coyote would be that close, but I guess we will never know.
This trail is very flat, as I am noticing about all trails in heath areas. Obviously that makes sense, but I hadn’t spent a lot of time in these types of habitats until this year. The tread is greater than three feet for most of the length, if you ignore the goat path in the center. It was difficult at times just due to the soft surface, but very doable if you have the strength and stamina. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are looking for an out-of-the-way, quiet place with beautiful scenery to decompress.
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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