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Long Reach Preserve and a Short Fall

By Jamie Pacheco

Jamie Pacheco photo

Long Reach (Jamie Pacheco photo)

Last weekend we held a surprise 50th birthday party for my aunt at my family’s oceanfront abode. This meant that 20ish people descended for four hours with enough food to feed a small herd of ravenous teenage boys. Though we aren’t a ravenous herd of teenage boys, we still usually manage to put away most of the food. As you may imagine, my family is delightfully curvy. To prep for the copious consumption to come, my father and I hiked Long Reach Preserve with Essex and my parents’ lab-beagle, whom I call Chunk, as you may recall from an earlier post.

My father has been waiting all winter for me to guide him through the trails of Harpswell, and he was extremely excited to be finally exploring his first. It started off great. We headed right at all the trail forks so that we could enjoy the longest amount of time amidst the trees (or possibly just to avoid my mother as she tore around the house like an angry tornado on a mission preparing for guests).

As we walked, I explained that Cliff Trail and Long Reach Preserve mirror one another across Long Reach. My father found this confusing.

“So, this is Long Reach Cove?” he asked.

“No, a reach is a thing like a cove, except not, it’s a reach.”

“But a reach looks like a cove,” he replied.

“Well, a reach is long, like the water is reaching down into the land. Harpswell has a ton of them because of the long fingers that reach into the ocean. Coves tend to be shorter, or at least broader,” I explained. I have no idea if this is true, but it sounded sufficiently intelligent to be convincing.

“I get it now: a reach is long, like fingers. I learned something new today,” my father delightedly stated. He continued to mutter this for the next few minutes of our hike, then chuckle to himself and restate it. I hope no other hikers had the misfortune of hearing sporadic, possibly unsettling, chuckling drift through the trees as they also walked the trails at Long Reach Preserve.

Once we had finished walking along Long Reach we came across the bog. Essex, being the cavalier explorer that she is, promptly ventured into the outskirts of the bog. Some imaginary bog villain captured her attention and she leapt onto a little bog island in pursuit. If you know anything about bogs, you know that they are deceptive in nature, which is why Essex quickly found herself shoulder deep in quagmire.

At this my father inaccurately shouted, “Aqua dooooog.” Chunk, not wishing to be left out of any adventure, made a move to follow Essex. At this point, my father stopped mocking my dog and started instructing Chunk, “DON’T BE LIKE AQUA DOG.” Of course, Chunk blatantly ignored this instruction, and charged forward with a leap. It was a quick leap and a short fall, directly into the mire. I should mention that Chunk is a pale yellow color, almost creamy white. Bogs are not this color.

From behind me I heard “aqua dooooogs,” and a short chuckle followed by, “better yet, Bog Dogs.” Fortunately, my father stopped muttering about reaches, but unfortunately he replaced this mantra with “Bog Dooooog,” also followed by sporadic chuckling. It would appear that I was the only one who didn’t find this whole experience delightfully amusing.

April 2015

This article is one of many as part of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Outdoor Adventure Blog. Click here to browse others. We invite everyone who explores the outdoors in Harpswell to submit stories and photos of their adventures for inclusion. We reserve the right to edit submissions. Send your stories to Julia McLeod at outreach@hhltmaine.org. Thanks!