Scarborough Marsh – Eastern Trail

We were both awake at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. As we lay in bed we considered our options. We decided to get up, drive to Old Orchard Beach to watch the sunrise. Then we would drive to the Scarborough Marsh and walk a few miles on the Eastern Trail.

All was going according to plan until we opened the front door. The much needed rain that was not supposed to reach Maine, had defied the meteorologists predictions and was gently falling from the sky. Earl and I looked at each other with questions in our expressions. Still want to go?

The answer from both of us was yes! We grabbed our rain coats and headed out to the car.

Because of the wonderful rain, and the clouds that produce rain, we skipped going to the beach because we knew the sun would not be visible as it rose in the sky. Instead, we headed straight to the Scarborough Marsh/Eastern Trail parking lot on Pine Point Road in Scarborough, ME.

It was still dark when we arrived at the trailhead at 6:09 a.m. We started up the trail and quickly wished we had changed into our rain pants. Fortunately the outside temperature felt somewhat mild at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and our nylon hiking pants didn’t become weighed down with absorbed water. For a few minutes my thighs felt the chill of dampness, but soon the heat generated from walking was enough to alleviate any discomfort.

As we walked the mostly flat, gravel trail, trees and trail signs became more visible. We passed a park bench, spotted a mile-marker sign, and discovered the golf course that borders the trail.

“Is that a coyote or a tree stump?” Earl asked, pointing to the golf course. “Or maybe a fox?”

“I think it’s a coyote,” I said. We could see what looked like ears and both had the sense that there was face beneath those ears even though we could not see it. We kept watching, but there was no movement.

“It must be a stump,” Earl finally said. He took a step forward and stopped again. Watching. Still no movement.

We were both fairly sure by this point that we were fascinated by a tree stump, when the object moved. It loped away from us, then stopped again, waiting and watching us as we watched it. Finally, it broke contact and headed off across the brightening fairway. We won the staring contest!

We continued walking until we reached the parking lot off Black Point Road in Scarborough. A sign indicated that the trail continued to the right, off through some tall grass. This was a new section for me. The last time I had visited that parking area, the trail continued on using paved roads. This new off-road section was exciting to see!

Because we were now walking through grass, my shoes quickly became as wet as my pants. My Merino wool socks kept my feet warm, though I could feel they were wet.

Eventually the trail met up with a road. There were no signs indicating which direction the trail headed. We made a best guess which ended up being wrong. We walked through some nice residential neighborhoods. We even saw four turkeys chillaxin’ in someone’s yard. For us, a hike isn’t a hike unless we see turkeys!

Eventually we pulled out Earl’s cell phone to check our location on Google maps.

We retraced our steps a short distance until I noticed what looked like a trail heading off to the left. Earl wasn’t convinced this was the correct direction, but I reminded him that it didn’t matter if it was wrong–we were “out adventuring together”.

This time, we were not wrong!

Once we returned to the spot where we originally lost the trail, we stopped to see how we had gone awry in the first place. Hindsight, of course, is much clearer than normal sight.

If I may paraphrase Robert Frost for a moment–two paths diverged in a neighborhood, but one went unnoticed due to poor lighting and low hanging tree branches. We took the one most traveled by, and that made all the difference. That is how we ended up walking through sleepy neighborhoods on a Sunday morning.

Once we were back on the wider, gravel trail, with the salt marsh visible on either side, we stopped to enjoy the beauty around us. At that moment in time, I was so grateful we braved the weather to traipse off-road as we did. We were tired from walking 6-7 miles. We were wet from the constant drizzling rain. We were happy to have shared the experience.

If you’ve ever let bad weather keep you inside, I invite you to don your rain gear and step outside. With the exception of the Wicked Witch of the West, a little rain never hurt anyone!

I hope you enjoy these photos of the Scarborough Marsh on a soggy Sunday morning!

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