The Moose Trail – Bartlett Lodge’s own Hiking Trail
By Lodge Naturalist, Malcolm Robertson
After dawn and before dusk are two of the better times to walk the Moose Trail in hope of seeing more wildlife however different seasons and reasons make this walk worthwhile anytime. Bring along one of our self-guided maps, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and apply insect repellant if conditions dictate it.
From the trailhead you’ll briefly follow the shoreline; part of a carriage road that once brought guests from the railway station to the lodge, before the trail makes an abrupt turn and funnels you into the forest. Every season offers a different menu, with spring boasting an abundance of wildflowers like Spring Beauties, Trout Lilies and Red Trilliums to name a few. We encourage you to stop and smell the flowers, and the unique scent of the Red Trillium!
The timeframe of the spring ephemerals is brief, lasting only until the deciduous trees mint new leaves that block out the sunlight crucial to their survival, before fading into oblivion for another year and yielding to new varieties such as the rarer Painted Trillium, the lovely Pink Lady Slippers and carpets of Bunchberries.
For birdwatchers spring and early summer is a feast for the eyes and ears, with many spring migrants returning to breed and nest, filling the air with their chorus of songs. One of the earliest to return and often last to leave is the Hermit Thrush, an ordinary looking robin-sized bird endowed with the most musical of songs, usually heard early in the morning and the last to end in the evening. Several species of sparrows and warblers promise to give you “warbler’s neck” trying to spot and identify them in the canopy.
Part way along you’ll reach a fork in the trail, and either way you choose will bring you back to this junction. If you walk it more than once take the opposite route for a different perspective. Look up once in a while, at the sun-dappled canopy and cloud formations, something we’re not used to, accustomed to always looking down at our devices. Welcome the respite to replace screen time with green time.
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term loosely translated as “forest bathing,” the practice of spending time surrounded and embraced by nature. It’s been proven that being immersed in nature and unplugging from technology is beneficial to our mental and physical health, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and reducing stress levels. Of course your blood pressure is sure to rise if you happen to encounter a moose!
The Moose Trail is aptly named, with the park’s largest animal being the most frequently captured on our trail cam. Even if you don’t see one while on the trail you’ll see signs of their passage: cloven tracks, scat and evidence of browsing on trailside trees. Occasionally deer, black bear, pine martens and the odd wolf is spotted.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” wrote Albert Camus, a time when the foliage of Red and Sugar Maples, Yellow and White Birches vie for attention with the shrubs and plants of the understory, and like the spring flowers is too brief, their fate at the mercy of the weather.
A short side trail at the furthest end brings you to Big Pine Point, a clearing with a bench allowing you a chance to rest or relax, while overlooking an expanse of marsh wetland known as Moose Swamp and a view of the lake
To quote John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks,” and upon completion of the Moose Trail we’re sure you’ll agree.
Remember: Take only photographs, leave only footprints and kill only time.