Halloween hike with the Adams family

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Who would believe that a space of forested quiet could exist in such close proximity to the busy traffic of Falmouth Road at the Leighton road intersection where cars rush over train tracks and up curving hills? What hike had my husband tricked me into taking with our two year-old daughter now? My fears about this new addition to the Falmouth Land Trust’s properties abated as I viewed rolling golden fields, wooded stretches, and wandering river. Once owned by the Adam’s family, the property’s more than 20 acres are bounded by two tributaries of the East branch of the Piscataqua River and consist of swaths of forest land sandwiched between the river and open meadows.

Land Trust members working in collaboration with the Falmouth Conservation Corps led by Bob Shafto have cleared several miles of trails and built 3 bridges, increasing accessibility for the public. My two year-old delighted in running back and forth over these bridges, imagining a Halloween ghoul living below. I noticed wire cable loops at either end of the bridges, wrapped around a nearby tree. At first, I cynically hypothesized that their purpose was to prevent theft, but my husband pointed out that their purpose was in fact to keep the bridges from being carried away by spring melt flash floods. Watching the drifting leaves swirl and collide with branches caught in the river’s slow currents, it seemed hard to believe that this river could grow angry enough to toss such bridges aside.

Along the property, forested banks of primarily deciduous trees follow the meandering stream. On the day we hiked, the entire sky seemed to be filled with a golden light as late afternoon sun poured through yellow, orange and red fall foliage. Fall red and purple berries clustered like candy on vines intertwined in the thick brush. My daughter and I were able to crouch inside one of these vine thickets, imagining a secret place where we could hide from skeletons and witches. Fern gardens in shadier valleys emitted a rich and heady green scent as our boots crunched their tender fronds- these ferns must have grown from the same fiddleheads we had enjoyed last spring as an early sign of winter’s end.

The Falmouth Land Trust’s goal is to have the trails, unofficially named the Piscataqua Trails, on this property connect to already existing trail systems over the McCrann property on the opposite side of Falmouth Road. The Adam’s parcel will serve as a bridge between the McCrann property’s trails and the trails traversing Falmouth’s River Point Conservation Area, found behind the West Falmouth Hannaford Grocery Store. Click here to see a trail map. The Adam property is open to hiking, dogs, mountain biking, skiing, and snowshoeing.

This network of interconnecting trails is certainly fertile ground for a two-year old planning to be a fairy for Halloween. She found plenty of fairy house-making materials and stumps to use in the style of the fairy housing development mushrooming on Mackworth Island . The only problem was that she wore herself out and Cinderella’s carriage turned into a pumpkin, meaning my husband and I had to take turns carrying her back to the car. This kind of imaginative nature play for children and an escape into peaceful woods, streams, and fields for adults make the Adam’s property much more treat than trick.

The Adam property can be accessed from a trail head off of Falmouth Road just Southeast of the intersection with Leighton Road or via bridge from River Point. River Point is reached via the pedestrian bridge from the West Falmouth Hannaford’s parking lot. Please respect landowner privacy and stay on marked trails.