My two dogs, Gabby and Ellie-Bellie, set out to explore some new hiking trails here in Poland, Maine. We’ll take a little trip together into the Heart Of Poland and explore 5 sites along the way. And we meet a new friend (or not) along the way. Oh, lest I forget to mention my other dog (Bruschi) – well he’s a grumpy old man pug and decided to stay at home with Sue.
The “Heart Of Poland” Hiking Trails
With the generous financial assistance of community activists, including the Wolf Cove Inn, there is a series of new hiking trails in Poland, Maine. The Poland Trail Committee and many volunteers constructed the interconnected hiking trails system, christened “The Heart of Poland Conservation Area”, in 2015. The network consists of 5 trails that will take you up and down hills, through valleys and along forested creeks for around a 3 mile adventure. The hiking is mostly easy with a couple of brief moderate sections along the way.
A short one mile walk or drive from Wolf Cove Inn on Tripp Lake Road will bring you to the western trailhead of the network. The parking lot is adjacent to the exit from the town’s transfer station. Here you will find trail maps in an information kiosk. You begin your hike on the Huntress Trail, marked with a red diamond.
1) Visit A Vernal Pool
Follow the trail for about 0.4 miles and you’ll come to the first site along the way, a pretty little vernal pool. This pool is a springtime breeding ground for frogs and salamanders. Here Gabby and Ellie-Bellie get ready for a brief frolic in the pool. Gabby, who is a 3 year old English Black Lab, does more adventurous frolicking than Ellie-Bellie. She’s only 5 months old and is still learning about water. A rescue puppy with Black Lab and we think some hunting dog in her, I’m sure she’ll be full tilt in the water and mud with her big sister soon enough.
2) Explore The Cave Formation
Just past the vernal pool the trail meets up with the White Oak Trail, demarked with white diamonds. Stay on the Huntress trail and follow for about another 0.3 miles until you come upon the Cave Trail. The Cave Trail is marked with blue diamonds.
Take a left onto the cave trail and follow for about 0.25 miles. On the right is our next site, an unusual geological occurrence of a small cave and dike formation. This was formed by molten rock millions of years ago.
3) An Abandoned Quarry
After exploring the formation, make your way back to the Huntress Trail by backtracking on the Cave Trail. Turn left onto the Huntress Trail. Just a few steps along you will encounter a spur for the Quarry Trail. Follow shortly to our third site, a small quarry area dating back to the early 1900s (or earlier.) Explore at your leisure.
4) Nature’s Underpass
Now we head back to the Huntress trail and continue on to the right. We’ll follow this to the alternate trailhead located behind the Ricker Library in the Town of Poland municipal complex. Just before reaching the trailhead, there is a cool rock formation with a large fallen tree spanning the area, creating a natural underpass – our fourth site along the way.
5) To The Hunter’s Stand
From here, pick up the Ricker Trail, demarked with yellow diamonds. You will have a brief, moderate, ascent then an easy descent after which you will join back up with the Huntress Trail. The Ricker Trail is about a quarter mile in length. Take a left back onto the Huntress Trail and follow until you again come upon the Cave Trail.
Turn right onto this trail and take an immediate right onto the White Oak Trail, marked with white diamonds. The White Oak Trail loops along the forest edge at Hilt Hollow, passes over a small stream, runs uphill for a spell and eventually meets up with the Huntress Trail again. Along the way you will see our fifth site, a hunter’s stand. Please note the stand is privately owned on private property.
A Critter Or Two
When you meet up with the Huntress trail again, hang a right rather than following it straight ahead to get back to the starting trailhead. You need to keep your head up for the intersection or you’ll miss the turnoff to the right as I’ve done once or twice. From here you will pass the vernal pond again. And you may encounter a critter along the way.
In all, you will hike about 3.3 miles following this route. From here, hop back in your car and head to your home away from home, the Wolf Cove Inn. With our gorgeous location on Tripp Lake you will enjoy gourmet breakfasts, beautiful sunsets, and complimentary use of our canoes, kayaks and rowboat. Come visit!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these new hiking trails with Gabby, Ellie-Bellie and I here in the Heart Of Poland.