Libby Hill Trail, Gray, Maine - by Beth

LibbyTrail1 This is the first in an ongoing series on trails and hikes. I was originally going to write a single post on a number of trails here in Western Maine, but received feedback indicating that we have plenty of outdoorsy followers who would like to see multiple posts. Since trail running, hiking, and snowshoeing are some favorite recreational activities for me, I'm happy to oblige. Not too far from our lake cottage, Sunset Haven, is the Libby Hill Trail System in Gray, Maine. The highlighted link will give you a fine array of information regarding location, events, and other details about this trail. It's beautiful, and fairly gentle, at least on the white blazed trail which, admittedly, is the only one I've done in its entirety so far. I hope to get on to some of the other parts of the system before the fall is over. It was a spectacular fall day last Saturday when I went out on the trail. Record warmth was on tap for Maine, and it felt almost like summer except for the tell tale signs of fall all around me. Gray is in southern Maine, and a bit away from the higher elevations as well, so the foliage was not in full glory yet. These woods are gorgeous year round, however.
LibbyTrail3 The Libby Hill trails are also used as the cross country trails for the Gray-New Gloucester school district.
LibbyTrail4 I must have been influenced by endorphins, because it occurred to me to use my head to show the scale of the boulders behind me. In fact, the pic does not do the boulder justice.
LibbyTrail5 In looking at these yellowing ferns, I could not help but think about the tiny, fuzzy, delicate little fiddleheads they had been in the spring. The seasons are wondrous.
LibbyTrail6 This is the cellar hole of the old Libby homestead, just by the side of the trail. A remembrance and brief history of the Libby farm is posted trail side.
LibbyTrail7 Color. Everywhere.
LibbyTrail8 The trails are well marked. Note the white blaze on the tree to the left. There were only a couple of cross paths where I'd wished I'd had a trail map in hand, but it didn't take much figuring to know which way to go. Disclaimer: Do not go in to a trail system without access to a trail map. I did not have one "in hand" but knew I could look it up on my phone at any time.
LibbyTrail9 It's been pretty dry, but this little thing is managing to survive.
LibbyTrail10 The stone walls throughout the Libby Hill trails are a reminder that this was once farmland. Whenever you're in the woods in New England and the Northeast and see old abandoned stone walls, look around at the trees. Chances are very good that the trees are not ancient. Then imagine all of that land cleared, because it was.
LibbyTrail11 Monument to the Libby (or Libbey - it's spelled both ways) family. There is a side trail that runs near this dedication marker.
LibbyTrail12 These were falling all around me, reminders of the mighty oak that grows from the small acorn, although this one was not so small. There's a life lesson in that.
LibbyTrail13 These tree species markers are all over the trails. I was reminded of a species or two that I'd forgotten, but no one here in the "Pine Tree State" can forget this one.
LibbyTrail14 As I said, foliage was not near peak in Gray last weekend, but this lone standout was pretty marvelous.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief glimpse of the Libby Hill trail, and that you might even get out on it, or one near you, this fall. Happy hiking!

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