The Lakes Environmental Association does a darn good job of protecting Maine’s lakes and watersheds. The annual $100 family donation is one of those “do good,” “feel good” things that directly impacts the Bridgton area. In an attempt to see how such donation has been utilized, a hike was taken on a damp Fourth of July afternoon to the Holt Pond Preserve in Bridgton. The 5 mile hike seemed like a good plan.
The trailhead, bearing little signage and located near a former grist mill, was not easily found. The discovery of a rusted-out ancient Jeep in the Holt Preserve parking lot should have been an indicator that this is the trail less taken. Initially, the trail of pine needles was gentle and well marked. Unfortunately, the signs were only identity monikers and excluded any orientation. Eventually, the trail turned into an elevated boardwalk system of planks above a bug infested swampy marsh. The boardwalk, overgrown with plants and quite slick with rain could only have been successfully navigated by a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. White shorts worn to repel ticks quickly took on a brown hue as the Vibram soled hiking boots could not hold a grip on the slippery wooden planks.
At about mile 2 and now drenched, filthy, bug bitten and clearly lost (lots of signs but no directions) the hike began to take on shades of a Stephen King anecdote. The trail crossed an isolated road and the impulse to call Uber to the rescue was abated when a man-boobed off the grid Mainer with an NRA sticker on his front porch pointed out the correct path and the return to civilization.
Holt Preserve Boardwalk