NEWPORT — To enjoy a quiet bike ride or walk along inland lakes and streams and past fields and quiet towns, join the Dawn Patrol in the Sebasticook Valley.
Constructed along an abandoned railroad corridor, the 29-mile Four Seasons Adventure Trail connects Newport in Penobscot County with Dover-Foxcroft in Piscataquis County. The trail’s loveliest section arguably is its southernmost, between Newport and Dexter. From the trail head just south of Varney Ford on Route 7 (about 1¼ miles north of Exit 157, Interstate 95), in the space of 14 miles the trail:
• Flows through myriad woods, especially along an arrow-straight “tunnel” north of Corundel Lake in Corinna.
• Brushes against scenic Sebasticook Lake and, at its northwestern corner, bridges a lovely inlet.
• Crosses the East Branch of the Sebasticook River in downtown Corinna.
• Skirts Corundel Lake amidst its tall reeds.
• Rolls north to Lake Wassookeag in Dexter.
Early morning could be the best time to enjoy the the trail, frequently used by ATVers as a summer day progresses. In those quiet hours before traffic starts humming on Route 7, taking a Dawn Patrol on the Four Seasons Adventure Trail might lead to wildlife encounters. For sure, Sebasticook Lake’s smooth surface will reflect the rising sun, and even if clouds obscure the sunshine, the peace and quiet found along the trail will ease a troubled mind.
As for Dawn Patrol wildlife-viewing opportunities:
• In June and July, watch for female painted turtles laying their eggs in the trail’s graveled edge along Sebasticook Lake. The Maine Department of Conservation posts warning signs in appropriate locations.
• While passing Corundel or Sebasticook lakes, listen and watch for birds, especially ducks and loons on Sebasticook. Perhaps first revealed by its “kee-kee” hunting cry, an osprey might appear in search of fish.
• Deer like the forest just north of Corundel Lake; even the occasional moose might show up. A deer may appear as only a loud “snort” (usually emitted by a buck) in the adjacent woods, but a deer accustomed to bicyclists may, if “caught” standing in the trail, linger and watch an approaching rider for a few moments.
• Look (and listen) for the ubiquitous squirrels, especially the tripwire-alarm red squirrels that will protest anything’s passage in “their” woods.
A Dawn Patrol represents riding or walking in a hot day’s coolest temperatures. The light changes by the minute; long and dark at daybreak, the shadows gradually shorten and fill with daylight. To capture such natural transition (or to photograph that deer that’s suddenly in the trail), pack a camera or a smart phone.
Cell reception is excellent along the trail.
For information about the Four Seasons Adventure Trail, go to maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/index.pl. Under “Select a multi-use rail trail,” choose “Four Seasons Adventure Trail.”