Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Webber-Rogers Farmstead Conservation Area


The Webber-Rogers Farmstead Conservation Area is a 117-acre conservation easement that was donated to the Kennebec Land Trust by George and Judy Rogers in 2005. The land includes the farmstead area, the agricultural area with working hayfields and vineyard, and fields and woodlands with more than 2200 acres of shorefront along Upper Pleasant Pond. The trails travel through the wooded area and along the shores of Potter’s Brook and Upper Pleasant Pond, offering lovely views of both as well as the quiet sound of water lapping on the banks. The trail is short enough for a quick outing, yet it offers numerous inviting opportunities for exploration or quiet contemplation along the way.

Getting There
From Gardiner, head south on Route 201 (Brusnwick Ave.). After passing the I-295 interchange, continue 3.5 miles. Turn right on Thorofare Road and follow it to where it ends (about 0.8 miles) at Plains Road. Turn left on Plains Road. The trailhead is on your left after you cross the stream (about 0.1 miles). There is some parking along the roadside.

The Trails
Distance: 1.5 miles (loop)
Difficulty: moderate

The two trails form a loop through a lovely hardwood forest dominated by beech trees with lush ferns in the understory. The Shore Trail offers views of Potter’s Brook and Upper Pleasant Pond and the Ridge Trail passes some interesting glacial erratics. Both trails are narrow dirt tracks, that bounce over roots and rocks. The trail is well-marked with blue tree blazes. From the Webber-Rogers Farmstead Conservation Area sign near the road, walk straight ahead, along the edge of the woods. In a short distance you will come to a trailhead sign and a box with maps and a sign-in sheet. From here the trail enters the woods, crosses a small bridge and comes to a fork. A right at the fork leads to the Ridge Trail, the left fork leads to the Shore Trail.

Shore Trail
Take a left at the fork and follow the trail along Potter’s Brook, crossing a small seasonal streambed and a snowmobile trail. The trail passes a large oak tree and where Potter’s Brook joins Upper Pleasant Pond. The trail parallels the pond, climbs over a stone wall and angles uphill. Near the southern boundary of the Conservation Area, the trail turns right and right again, leaving Pleasant Pond and meeting the Ridge Trail.

Ridge Trail
From the end of the Shore Trail, the Ridge Trail heads uphill, following along a breezy ridge of wooded land. After the trail crests the hill and heads downhill again, it passes the aptly named Nose Rock (is this a gnome frozen in time?), climbs over another stone wall, crosses a small wet area on two wooden beams, crosses a snowmobile trail (go left) and rejoins the shore trail. Continue straight to the road.

Kid-Friendly Factor
The Webber-Rogers Conservation Area trail would be a great place to take kids for a hiking adventure. The trail is too narrow, rooty and rocky to accommodate a stroller, but a small child could be carried in a backpack and a preschooler or young school-aged child should be able to handle at least part of the trail if not the whole loop. Kids will enjoy the “enchanted” aspects of the trail--Nose Rock, the mossy tree trunks, interesting fungus and tall ferns along the trail, as well as the many views of water along the way. It would be fun to take a picnic to eat along the shore of Upper Pleasant Pond. Be prepared for wet sneakers and some tripping over roots and rocks.

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