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Snowshoeing Wolfe's Neck State Park, Freeport

The first snowfall of the season is always pretty to us. It starts pretty.

And cozy.

We pause to watch the snowflakes from our windows drift gently, daintily from the sky and quietly blanket our brown winter fields, unraked fall leaves, bare branches of oak trees and back gardens. Ice begins to form on the edges of the stream. The watching is calming.

The boughs and holly berries from December remain in the window boxes of our shed, and the snow begins to cover them like sifted confectionary sugar.

I go toward the nostalgic – appreciating the change of seasons, the circle of life on this planet with the dying and subsequent rebirth and awakening of all of nature. As a writer, I dwell in the details and the introspection.

On a balmy 30 degree day in January with brilliant sunshine and a deep royal blue sky, just one day after the first snowfall, we grabbed the snowshoes, LL Bean boots, fleece jackets and down vests and drove the short distance from our home in Portland, north to Freeport and Wolfe’s Neck State Park.

We love walking the park trails in the fall, but it seems we come here more in winter when we can see the blue/gray/green of the ocean through the trees, many bare of leaves.

There are so few people in the park and those who are there are just the friendliest like-minded folks who smile and remark on the beauty and good weather as we pass.

A small boy being lifted from his car seat by his mom, said cheerily “Good morning!” to us as we bent to buckle our snowshoes – a wide smile and knit hat, so happy to be right there with his folks, right then on a mid-Sunday morning.

Perhaps they’d had a nice breakfast together, perhaps had been up with the toddler since dawn, and now sought a little outing of fresh winter air and exercise.

Wolfe’s Neck State Park comprises over 200 acres off Flying Point Road on the coast in Freeport. It was given to the town in 1969 by the Lawrence M. C. Smith family as a gift so that all of us may enjoy bird watching, hiking, picnicking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing its myriad of trails that pass over tiny wooden footbridges, curve along the cliffs that overlook a smattering of small islands – Bustins, Little Bustins, Eagle, Moshier, Crab, and Chebeague and Cousins off to the far south.

The Old Woods, Harraseeket and Casco Bay trails are easy to moderate, with a few stone stairs to climb.

It’s a beautiful view when the tide is in. And an equally compelling view when the tide is out and we can walk and sit down on the rocks of Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River.

Wolfe’s Neck is quiet.

It’s peaceful, serene in winter.

Snowshoeing the paths in the woods, we are protected from the wind. The sunlight sparkles down through the tree tops.

We pause with our Nikon to shoot photos, trying to capture what is.

But photos can never replicate the true beauty of nature in Maine – the vivid colors, the feel of the winter wind on our cheeks, and fresh air smells of the sea and forest of hemlock and pine. How to maintain good health & happiness - I think we've discovered it!

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