As evening settles and an already deep and eerie fog appears to thicken and congeal around us, the girl is most interested in the ice.
There at the glorious tip of Battery Point at the Massabesic Audubon Center, we have the icy lake to ourselves. Almost on a whim, we decided to take a late-in-the-day hike; homework finished, house chores completed, mostly everybody else watching football.
A wide, well graded and straightforward trail led us down to this place. The high temps and odd fog have turned some parts of the trail into a snowy soup. No snowshoes were needed, but the slushy mix makes the hike longer than it normally would have been. The center is located on an old farm on a peninsula of land that narrows down into the main body of the lake. Now, as Janelle explore the point, I open a thermos of tea and sit back and breathe deeply.
Battery Point used to be a grand picnic spot, with a pavilion that looked like a lighthouse and comfort areas. Now, only the brick pillars near the water remain. The rest of the point is open grass. For an amazing vintage shot of Battery Point, click here: Vintage Battery Point
The lake is not quite frozen enough to walk on. It looks like a patterned quilt in bumpy shades of blue. I can see the pull the lake has on the child as she scrambles down near the shore, getting as close to the patchwork ice as she can to take pictures or just find peculiar ice formations.
“When can we walk on the water?” she asks over her shoulder.
“Another couple weeks anyway,” I say. But if weather patterns continue like this, who knows, maybe never. “Tell you what, we’ll bring two cars next time and hike out here, then walk across the lake to a car and drive back.”
This works for her. “Watch this,” she says. She’s pried a helmet-shaped chunk of ice off a rock and tosses it into the lake. The chunk shatters, but cracks the water ice into thin beautiful ribbons that spread out over the lake surface like a deep blue spider web.
“Whoa, cool,” she says. Then pauses. “Guess it is too thin to walk on now.”
And so the afternoon goes. We have headlamps so we’re not concerned about the dark, and as we make our way home, Janelle occupies herself with creating “snow-cones” by wrapping icy snow in fallen leaves.
“Why do you like ice so much” I ask her.
“I just like water. ” She shrugs. “All kinds of water.”
If you go: The Massabesic Audubon Center is located in Auburn, just off Route 28. The center itself is free, though it was closed during the time we were there. Trails are accessible even after center hours, however. Park in the lot across the street, walk straight up to the main doors and turn left toward the open field for trails. There is a kiosk nearby with trail maps. For more information or hours, the center’s link is here: Massabesic Audubon Center.
Our hike: The Yellow Trail to Battery point and back. Trailhead is near the kiosk.
Our miles: About 3.4
Pictures link: Massabesic Aububon Center, Battery Point
Want to see a really cool pic of what Battery Point used to look like: Vintage shot