← Back to Harpswell's Preserves & Trails
Wet, Windy and Cold: Mitchell Field in March
by Jamie Pacheco
It is cloudy, there is a chill in the air, and rain is impending; welcome to early spring in Maine. Would anyone like to join me for a walk? Or course not! Any sane person would be avoiding a walk in the woods (or anywhere) in this sort of weather. But let me give you some background: we have a puppy…and our puppy needs a walk every day or our home descends into chaos.
So here I am at Mitchell Field, off Harpswell Neck Road, with three dogs. I seem to be able to compound any unpleasant task with something difficult; in this case, handling three dogs. So now I have with me a partially-trained puppy, the runner (my parent’s greyhound), and the short chunky one (my parent’s lab-beagle). For pure entertainment, try picturing a sausage with four legs, a tail and a snout. Now imagine it yellow, and you will have my parent’s lab-beagle, whom I call Chunk or Sausage because I find it more entertaining than her given name.
In spite of my wisecracks, I love having all three dogs, and Mitchell Field is my favorite place to take them. Mitchell Field is a former Navy fuel depot that the Town of Harpswell has turned into a rather excellent gathering spot. Mitchell Field is aptly named, as it is a large field surrounded by paths. It is home to a bandstand, a beach, and the Harpswell Community Garden. The Southern side of the field is, in fact, not a field but a wooded area that has a few grassy paths winding through it. The greyhound is especially fond of this area as it the only place I let her off leash so that she can run. If you are a dog person, picture your dog’s happy face, and imagine it even bigger (squished onto the tiny head of a greyhound).
The westward facing view from mid-Mitchell Field is incredible. You look out upon an ocean landscape featuring a handful of Maine’s islands. You can see the smoke stack that sits on Cousin’s Island, and I hear that on a good day you can see Mt. Washington. I have not had that pleasure yet. At the foot of the field the view is still of the islands, but you are closer and it is more personal.
At low tide Maine’s rocky and sandy shoreline is visible, and to me it is a reminder that we are enjoying Maine’s wild beauty. This is our puppy, Essex’s, favorite part of Mitchell Field. It is the place where everyone else brings their dogs and, on any day, any number of impromptu canine and human social hours ensue. If for some reason there is not another dog for Essex to exhaust herself with, and the tide is low, Essex and I explore the beach. I look into the tide pools and Essex rolls in them. I leap over the rivulets of water running back to the ocean and Essex splashes through them. I walk the shoreline dodging the gently lapping water and Essex charges through them. All in all, we both go home wet, salty and smelly and at least one of us is thrilled by this.
On this particular day I avoid the beach, although another dog did show up and Essex played while my parents’ dogs looked at me with forlorn “let’s go home” eyes. The rain, ahem, wintry mix started around this time and I agreed with them. It was time to go. This brings me to Sausage’s favorite part of Mitchell Field: the end of it.