Northern Headwaters Trail / by Greg Westrich

I have a confession to make. I tend to hold people who are only interested in hike that climb mountains with disdain. Peak baggers, New England 3000 footers, AMC's Maine Mountain Guide (as if the only hikes worth mentioning are up mountains), anyone with an altitude obsession: they're missing the point. The prejudice against rambling in the quiet woods makes me crazy.


These thoughts occupied my mind as I stepped around swampy ground and crumbling patches of snow along Goose Ridge Trail. Two weeks ago I hiked and mapped the Northern Headwaters Trail in Montville. Today, I returned to the preserve to map all the trails that lead in—Goose Ridge, Hemlock Hollow, and Whitten Field.


The woods are just waking from their winter slumber. Energetic rills rush down slopes into thawing bogs and beaver flowages. The maples are beginning to bloom, their twig tips turning deep red. Frogs are singing in the half-thawed vernal pools. Overhead, bright blue sunlight streamed down. I hiked in short sleeves for the first time.


I hiked over rocky outcrops and beneath old growth white pines. I never had to climb more than a hundred feet. As I was chugging up Whitten Hill, I realized that I had overlooked these trails when putting together Best Easy Day Hikes Camden. I included nearby Hogback and Frye Mountains, though. I had dismissed the Northern Headwaters Preserve because it has no mountains. I was one of those people who annoy me.


Don't make the same mistake. For your next outing, check out the Sheepscot Headwaters Trail Network and the nearby Bog Brook Trails.