Tonight I (and 60 others) headed to my favorite apple orchard, Randall’s, in Standish, Maine for a full moon hike, sponsored by our local @PresumpscotRegionalLandTrust and guided by two amazing naturalists.
The orchard had turned from late autumn rust and cinnamon hues to a black and white landscape with last night’s blanket of fresh snow, the darkening woody stanchions of trees in perfect lines from horizon to horizon. A moody grey sky gave a feel more like Halloween as our guides led us past the hibernating rows toward the forest edge, aromas of fermenting apple rich in the crisp winter air and clear turkey prints unmistakable in the fresh snow.
We hoped for a clear moonrise but the clouds out-competed lady Luna tonight. However, she did illuminate the snow enough that we never needed our headlamps, even to spot deer tracks after dark. It was a magical eve of quiet tromping through the snow, pausing to listen to the sounds of winter at night, noticing the silhouetted apple branches reaching towards us and the sky, the peaceful energy away from town, the lights of the antique farmhouse atop the hill calling us back like a beacon for some warm cider and fellowship.
We learned about animal tracks and the efficiency of stepping in one’s own tracks, how wetting one’s nose brings scents more alive than a dry nose (try it! It works and is why animals like wolves, bears, weasels, and your dog have cold wet noses- the better to smell you with, my dear), and the adage “eyes in front made to hunt, eyes on the side made to hide” distinguishes predators from prey.
To learn more about the good work this land trust does, (including extensive trail maps in southern Maine), or to donate or volunteer, find them at http://www.prlt.org
And if you’re local, don’t forget to thank the good people at Randall’s for generously sharing their land with the public by supporting their farm stand where you’ll find seasonal produce, cider, jams, Christmas trees, and more
Here’s to more winter fun, wellness, and supporting your local farmers and nonprofits!
Have you ever done night hikes? If so, where and what do you love about them? Have you attended other events by PRLT? Share in the Comments! Maybe you’ll inspire another reader.
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