Where I went: The Dover Community Trail; the main entrance is at 38 Fisher St. in Dover.
What it is: Dover Community Trail is a winding trail through the woods that snakes its way along the Cocheco River. Along the 3.8 miles of the trail, hikers can find themselves making their way along the river, walking along the streets and along the railroad tracks. It offers an escape into nature and allows for walking, biking, dog-walking and more.
What I did: Once again, my poor sense of direction, navigational challenges, and my forgetting to check the weather before leaving led to yet another interesting adventure. Rather than bring me to either end of the trail, the GPS on my phone decided that it would be a better idea to lead me smack dab into the middle of it.
When I arrived, I was very confused because I was expecting a trail marker or a sign indicating that I was at the right destination, but instead all I got was an apartment facility and a couple of youth baseball fields.
I parked in a lot atop the hill next to another car, a little confused but undeterred. I double-checked the map on my phone and made my way down the hill and around the back of the baseball fields, where I came across a young couple and their dog heading in the direction that I had just come from.
After asking them to confirm that this was, indeed, a section of the Dover Community Trails, I reassured myself that this was where I wanted to be, and I continued on my way back deeper behind the fields and out to the Cocheco River.
I had found the trail. Because I had been dropped into the middle of the path, rather than starting at the entrance, I had a choice to either go left or right. I chose left.
From there, I found myself treading along the weaving and winding frozen river. The ice cracked loud as the rushing waters shifted the frozen top coat. Birds circled and flew overhead as I made my way farther along the path and closer to the river. With biting winds and a temperature in the single digits, I quickly pulled out my ski mask and hat before continuing down the path. I came across a small walking bridge, where I took a second to take in the surroundings. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to stop and take everything in. There I looked out over the frozen river and watched the rushing water flowing beneath the frozen layer of ice that sat on top.
I continued on my way until I finally reached the road portion of the trail. I considered carrying on, but by that time the subzero temperatures were outweighing my urge to continue. I decided that now was the time to turn around and head back to the warmth of my car before calling it a day.
Someday soon I would love to return to the Dover Community Trails and start at the entrance, only next time on a much warmer day.
Who else would enjoy this: The Dover Community Trail is an excellent escape to nature for anyone looking to get away for a short time without leaving home. With such diversity among trail type and plenty of things to see and do, the trail offers something for everyone.
From bird-watching to biking, to those looking to picnic at one of the many tables placed across the almost four miles of trail, to those just looking for some exercise, the Dover Community Trail is that and then some.
There are some parts that are difficult to navigate, especially in the winter. I found myself slipping and sliding quite a bit throughout my short time there, but it is an excellent spot to escape, if only for a short time.
– Andrew Clay