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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back Cove Trail - Portland, Maine

Before I had ever even considered moving to Portland I have admired the Back Cove Trail and wanted to try it for myself. It was part of the lifestyle I envisioned I would have if I lived in Portland. You can see the trail from the Highway (Route 295) and I would wistfully wish I lived in Portland. Well I have lived in the Portland area now since December of last year and still had not made time for the trail.

Yesterday, trying to come up with something do during my vacation week so we didn't spend the whole week in our house. I decided we were going to tackle the trail. I googled the trail and found the best place for parking.

The website stated that there was parking on Preble Street Extension. I plugged in 1 Preble Street Extension into my GPS and the parking lot wasn't too far off. We found plenty of spots available and staked one out for our own. Be warned, the spots are really small. I have a small sedan and it was a tight squeeze. Be prepared if you are driving something larger.

We were pathetically excited about seeing a food truck in the parking lot. We are way too concerned about food. We never actually visited them but they seemed pretty popular and the girl running it was super friendly. And if you bring a dog with you, they have out several bowls filled with ice water for your Pooch Pals.

We are such novice hikers. We were so unprepared for this hike. Now for most people 3.5 miles would be nothing for them. When you are almost 200 lbs. overweight it is not quite as easy. However, I want to start incorporating more activity into my life and this seemed like a great place to start. We made tons of mistakes. Hopefully, someone reading this will learn from our lack of planning.

Mistake #1: Riley and I wore jeans during the hike and tops that were so hot and heavy. Riley found his black shirt to be attracting every bit of heat from the sun and then trapping in onto his body. I actually wore a 3/4 length sleeve top. I had a cami underneath it. I thought I was going to die by the end of the walk!

Mistake #2: We started our walk at 11:00 AM. Because we are such slow walkers (ok it was me...the boys probably could have finished the walk in half the time). So it took us about 2 1/2 hours to complete the walk. If you know anything about time, you quickly realize we were walking during high noon. That's right we walked when the sun was the hottest and during that time there was little shade to be found. I felt like I was melting. And because the trail is a loop by the time I was too exhausted to go on, it was too late and we had to carry on.

Mistake # 3: We went the wrong direction on the trail. We did the easy part first. For the first 1 3/4 miles it was great. There were benches about every 1/8 mile, there were bubblers a plenty (that is water fountains for you non-RI people), and glorious shady options everywhere. The second half the trail was the complete opposite. There was no shade, benches, or bubblers. By the time we realized it we just had to keep going. When we finally found a bubbler at the end of the trail I think we hogged it for about 10 minutes. We just couldn't get enough water. Because of my weight I think I started to over heat. I started to get cold shivers going through my body and was getting shaky.

Mistake #4: We should have brought water bottles. That was just foolish on my part. I should have thought that we would need water. See mistake #3 as too why I should have brought water with us.

Mistake #5: I should have brought a stroller for Gabrian. While he wouldn't have needed it for most of the time, it would have been nice for him to have the option at the end of the hike when it was getting too difficult for him. It also would have been a great place to store our water.

The trail was really fun. Especially the first half of it. There were so many interesting things to see. It was neat that we were on this nature trail but in the middle of downtown at the same time. To the right of us we could see the water and wildlife and to the left of us we had construction going on. If Gabrian had to choose, it would be the construction. He is infatuated with construction vehicles and he got to see a bunch of them up close and personal.

It was really interesting during our portion that was on the highway. We had a barrier separating us but you could definitely feel the cars whizzing by us. I am sure we were safe enough but I did try to hustle us out of there. I could just envision a car fly over the barrier and striking us.

I enjoyed seeing the many people on the trail. We saw serious runners, friends doing a leisurely stroll, bikers, mothers out with strollers and their babies, people using the trail to pick up their lunch on their way back home. Everyone we came into contact was super friendly. It just seemed to make people happy to be out walking on a beautiful summer day. It made us happy to just be part of the group.

The end result: I am glad that we did this and feel proud that I made it all the way around. I wish I was better prepared but know that this activity thing is a learning process for me. I am on my way to making a healthier family.

In fact, I happen to have today to myself because the boys have plans with other people today. I plan on tackling this hike again on my own. I think I know what I can do to make it better and think I will have another day of great exercise.

If you would like to try this trail out for yourself, the trail head is located on Preble Street Extension in Portland, Maine.