Black Friday is coming. The official and frenzied kick-off to the holiday shopping season. While I enjoy shopping, sometimes you just need a break from it all. Nestled amidst the retail stores, and shopping plazas, of the Clark’s Pond area in South Portland, is the Clark’s Pond Trail. An unexpected oasis and peaceful green space where you can unwind.
Until goggling trails in the area one recent Sunday morning, I never realized it was there even though I had been to this shopping destination many times. The start of the trail is easily accessed by parking in the back of the Home Depot lot, and walking a short distance to the well-marked trail entrance. The trail immediately immerses you in forest quickly leaving the stores behind although the steady buzz of cars never quite goes away and remains as a ready reminder that you’re still in an urban space.
The trail is easy to follow with clear white markers at regular intervals guiding you around the loop. It’s also an extremely well maintained and laid out trail. There are some steep spots in a few locations where wooden steps have been built to make the descent or ascent, depending on direction, easier to maneuver. While we had read that the trail can get muddy, we found it clear even the day after heavier rains. In addition to the steps, there are wooden bridges in some spots which should help make navigating muddy trails easier.
While the hike started out on a fairly traditional tree-lined path, we were pleasantly surprised when we finally reached the pond. While there was a small, disappointing water area as soon as we entered the trail, the actual pond was quite picturesque. It just took a bit longer to walk to. As we approached the pond for the first time, we were greeted with the site of a massive gathering of geese and mallards enjoying their private swimming hole. It was just the beginning of our bird encounters. As we continued further along the path and came at the pond from another angle, we encountered an even larger gaggle of geese.
Birds seemed to be the theme of this hike. We startled a larger than usual number of birds along the path including Blue Jays and Robins. Or, at least I think those were the type of birds. I’m not great at identifying birds. Whatever the type, there were many of them fluttering up and away from us as we approached new sections of the trial. This trail appears to be quite the bird sanctuary.
It’s a short hike at about a mile and a half. In order to make it an official loop, you actually end up walking another half mile or so on the sidewalk near busy Westbrook Street to get back to the Home Depot and the start of the trail. This part of the hike isn’t quite as picturesque although it does give you a nice open view of the pond as you first get onto the asphalt. It was lovely and made you forget for a few minutes that you were surrounded by buildings.
|things to know|
|Entrance||Home Depot, Clark’s Pond Parkway|
|Website||South Portland Land Trust|
|Favorite ♥||The Geese|