Difficulty: Easy to moderate. There are about 3.5 miles of intersecting trails in the preserve, and these trails travel through a hilly forest and along the coast. Expect exposed tree roots and uneven terrain. The Adler Woods Trail, which starts at the preserve parking area and strikes through the center of the preserve, is the easiest and most traveled trail.
How to get there: The parking lot for the preserve is at Union Church in South Addison. To get there from U.S. Route 1 in Columbia Falls, turn south onto Route 187 (Indian River Road) at Wild Blueberry Land. Drive about 1.5 miles, then turn left onto East Side Road. Follow East Side Road about 6 miles, then turn right onto Mooseneck Road. Drive about 1 mile and Union Church will be on your left. Park in the back of the church parking lot, in front of the sign that reads “Trail Parking.” The trail leading into the network is to the right, marked by a preserve sign.
Information: Located in the coastal town of Addison in eastern Maine, 145-acre Ingersoll Point Preserve features 3.5 miles of intersecting hiking trails that travel along the rocky shore and explore a beautiful forest filled with moss, lichen, boulders and towering evergreens. Accessible year round, the trail network is great for hiking, wildlife watching, snowshoeing and dog walking.
The preserve was acquired by the Downeast Coastal Conservancy in three parcels between 2009 and 2011, beginning with a 88.5-acre parcel that was donated by Dorothy Adler. In her honor, the preserve’s main trail — a 1.3-mile trail that travels through the center of the preserve — was named Adler Woods Trail. The other two parcels that make up the preserve were acquired through Land for Maine’s Future and North American Wetland Conservation Act funds.
With more than a mile of shoreline on Carrying Place Cove and Wohoa Bay, the preserve offers visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy views of the ocean and observe coastal wildlife, including a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl.
Though the land has long been left wild, the 1861 and 1881 Washington County Atlas show a homestead on the property with the name W. Ingersoll, and there is at least one cellar hole on the land near the eastern shore, surrounded by lilacs, according to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy. Bits of a stone foundation are also visible.
The preserve trail network consists of four trails, and each is marked with painted blazes of different colors. In addition, each trail intersection is marked with signs, and there is a trail map on display on the back of the sign at the trailhead, as well as preserve brochures (that include trail maps) at the trailhead and at the registration box that is located beside the trail not far from the trailhead.
All visitors start on the Adler Trail, which is marked with blue blazes and is 1.3 miles long, ending at the shore. Traveling through an incredibly mossy forest, this trail intersects with all other trails in the network. It also passes by the cellar hole of the Ingersoll homestead before ending at the beach at Ingersoll Point.
The Wohoa Bay Trail is 0.8 miles long and is marked with yellow blazes. This is the first trail to break away from the Adler Woods Trail. Traveling through the forest, this trail emerges from the forest onto a beach at Wohoa Bay, then traces the coast up to Ingersoll Point, where it connects to Adler Woods Trail and Cove Trail.
The Carrying Place Cove Trail, or simply Cove Trail, is about 1 mile long and is marked with red and pink blazes. The second trail to break away from Adler Woods Trail, this trail starts at a big boulder known as Polypody Rock and heads north to the shore at Carrying Place Cove. From there, it follows the shoreline to Ingersoll Point, where it meets Adler Woods Trail and Wohoa Bay Trail. Along the way, there is a cut-off trail to Adler Wood Trail.
And last of all, the Moss Trail is 0.3 mile long and blazed in green. This trail serves as a scenic connector trail between Wohoa Bay Trail and Adler Woods Trail, passing through an area of the woods abundant in mosses and lichens.
The majority of the preserve is covered in what is known as a spruce-fir maritime forest, but there are two other forest types that are present — spruce-fir cinnamon fern forest and spruce-larch wooded bog — according to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy. The preserve also contains two small shrubland areas filled with raspberry bushes, holly, wild roses and meadowsweet. One shrubland area is near the trailhead, while the other is all the way across the preserve at Ingersoll Point.
The preserve is open to the public for free year round during daylight hours. Downeast Coastal Conservancy asks that visitors stay on trail, avoid treading on moss and respect the landscape. Dogs are permitted if on leash or under voice control at all times. Fires, camping, ATV’s and snowmobiles are not permitted.
Downeast Coastal Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with the mission to conserve natural habitats and resources of the coastal watersheds, islands and communities of Washington County. This organization was formed in 2009 through a merger of Great Auk Land Trust and Quoddy Regional Land Trust.
For more information, and to find an online version of the brochure for Ingersoll Point Preserve, visit downeastcoastalconservancy.org. Headquartered in Machias, the organization can be reached at 255-4500 or by email at email@example.com.
Personal note: A storm was coming. Even if I hadn’t watched the weather report like a hawk on Dec. 29, I would have been able to feel it in the heavy air and see it in the dark clouds gathering overhead. As I drove east, it began to snow, then rain, then — to my delight — the rain stopped, and I arrived at the trailhead of Ingersoll Point Preserve. On such a gloomy day, with clouds threatening to drop freezing rain at any moment, it didn’t surprise me that mine was the only vehicle in the parking area. My dog, Oreo, and I had the preserve to ourselves that day, and we didn’t mind that one bit.
As we followed the blue blazes of the Adler Woods Trail, the wind picked up, whipping through the treetops overhead, but in the forest of tall spruce, balsam fir, cedar and pines, we were sheltered from the cold gusts. A dusting of snow covered the forest floor here and there, and a thin layers of ice had formed over pools. Icicles hung from boulders and frost clung to trees. But for the most part, the forest was filled with green, with a thick layer of moss covering the ground and creeping up tree trunks. Even on such an overcast day, it was one of the most beautiful forests I’ve ever seen.
That day, we left the Adler Woods Trail to hike the Cove Trail, which we followed along the coast to Ingersoll Point. Emerging from the forest at the scrubland at the point, I was taken aback by the fierce, freezing wind. It had also begun to drizzle. And clinging to a small tree at the edge of the shrubland, a hairy woodpecker braved the wind, the bright red streak on its head standing out against a gray world.
Oreo followed reluctantly as I walk onto the rocky beach to photograph mounds of seaweed, lichen-encrusted rocks and the dark waves of Wohoa Bay. Shielding my camera lens from the rain, I ducked took only a few photos and video before running through the tall grass into protection of the quiet woods. Oreo led the way.