Holt Pond Preserve is in South Bridgton, on the Grist Mill Road (previously called Mosquito Roost Road, for good reason.) The road is a challenge--narrow, rutted dirt, with some additional features such as fallen trees. If you have a small, all wheel drive vehicle you'll feel better. The sign for the preserve is pretty small, too. There is a parking area and some information at the head of the trails, showing the longer and shorter routes you can take. Entrance is free. Dogs are not allowed.
Some of the local environmental organizations hold nature walks at Holt Pond, but you can have a pleasant time yourself, especially if you remember your hat and insect repellent, and a bottle of water. The shorter trails, which is what we took, lead to the Muddy River and to Holt Pond itself. There are board walks through the marshier areas, and you may find highbush blueberries tempting you as you go. There are a couple of places that require some athletic ability, one being a narrow, rocky passage early on, and a fallen tree that is barring the trail to Holt Pond a couple of feet off the ground. You need to pay attention to the route you have taken--there are some markings on the trees, but in a couple of places you would do well to look back and see how you got where you are.
Great blue herons are known to nest on the pond, but recently eagles have eaten all the babies. We saw some ducks, and ran into the only other people who were there, a led group that was on a dragonfly trip with big nets. They were catching them to see them up close, and then letting them go. We took some pictures of a variety of interesting mushrooms.
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