The trail loops through the forest, out along the coast, and back again through the forest. The woodland portion includes mossy woods and rocky outcrops covered in weather-beaten pines and lichen meadows.
A boardwalk winds through peat bogs, or heaths, which are especially unusual because of the marine climate. Keep an eye out for Pitcher Plants. These wonderful little insectivores house a pool of clear liquid at the base of their brightly-colored leaves. It’s a pool of digestive fluid, and when hapless insects like black flies and mosquitoes wander in, they can’t escape but are slowly transformed into nutrients for these fiercely beautiful plants.
In June, the Pitcher Plants will be in bloom, sending up tall stalks with the most remarkable, tropical-looking blossoms. It is an intensely colorful coastline at any time of year, but it becomes even more splendid when summer blossoms like purple Beach Head Irises and pink roses are in full-bloom.
Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your clamber along the pink granite coastline with spectacular views of turquoise water. Look out for all kinds of shorebirds, watch the harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocky islands, and take advantage of all the little beaches and tide pools to stop and explore.
It really is a spectacular trail, so much to see at every turn, at the farthest edge where land meets see. You won’t be disappointed!
Great Wass Island is an absolute gem of a preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy. To get there, take the bridge from Jonesport to Beals, and just keep going! You’ll cross from Beals Island to Great Wass Island, and take Black Duck Cove Rd to the parking area at the trailhead. You’ll pass by the Downeast Institute on your right (stop and check out their touch-tank if you can), and then the parking area will be on your left. Try to time your hike for low tide – if the tide is high, portions of the coastal trail can be submerged.
by Sydney Michalski