By Susan Olcott
The Quarry Loop is easy to miss as it is the only trail on the “other” side of Woodside Road – separate from the bulk of the trails at Crystal Spring Farm. You reach the Quarry Loop by starting from the little spur of the East Trail at the corner of the parking lot for the Farmer’s Market (from the trail head near the porta-potties), taking a right onto the short Quarry Trail link that runs behind the farm, and crossing over Woodside. It’s only .2 miles from the parking lot to Woodside Road, and is flat and has good footing. Along the way, you might see an assortment of animals on the farm and also peek at some of the things growing by the farmhouse. After carefully crossing the road, you will find the short Quarry Loop, just another .2 miles or so around. When we went recently, there were blackberries and black-eyed susans along the way, and there’s a nice granite bench to sit and rest as well.
One great thing about the Quarry Trail is that it provides a safe link to walk between Woodside Road and the Farmer’s Market. If you’ve been to the Market, you likely have noticed that you are not alone, but a part of the throngs of others coming to enjoy the cornucopia of goodies on Saturday mornings. Parking is always a challenge and many park along the busy Pleasant Hill Road. But, Woodside Road is an alternative place to park that many people don’t think of. Perhaps it is because they don’t know about this lovely short linking trail.
A great thing about the Quarry Loop is that there is a lovely secret pool that has fresh, cool water in a shady spot. Often after nibbling on delicious pastries and sipping hot coffee while dancing in the sunshine with my girls to sweet fiddle music, we are ready for a little cool forest reprieve. And, this is a great spot to find it. On a recent visit to the pool, we were surprised by multiple plops as frogs hopped back into the water upon hearing us. Swimming on the surface of the water were giant solitary water beetles and flotillas of water boatmen with oar-like appendages paddling along. And, tiny silvery minnows darted back and forth under the surface. My daughter took this watercolor-like photograph of the still water reflecting the clouds and a frog peeking up. We were amazed at how much life was in this little pool. We even found tree frog eggs in a thick jelly on a few leaves dangling above the water, waiting to hatch and drop down to their aquatic home.
The rock surrounding the pool is smooth pink granite flecked with silvery mica and there are lots of little outcroppings. If you’re looking for ideas for kiddos on this trail or any others at Crystal Springs, you can print out a copy of a neat little Activity Book that Bowdoin Environmental Studies students put together with BTLT and the farm. We were satisfied just studying pond life and taking pictures. But, next time I’ll have to bring a net.
So, next Saturday when you find yourself heading to the market, leave a little extra time before or after to park along Woodside and follow the Quarry Trail over to the market and then on your way back, cross over the road to walk the Loop Trail to see the Quarry and its abundant life – and dip your toes.