Quarry Road trails are spring ready

Colby Echo (James Burnett)

Quarry Road trails

Colby students are flocking to Miller Lawn with hacky-sacks and frisbees in hand now that the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the temperature is above 50 degrees. Other students prefer bringing blankets to Johnson Pond to sprawl out and bask in the warmth. Regardless of intent, members of the Colby community will generally take any chance they can get to enjoy the nice weather before the school year ends.

Mules should not just be confined to exploring Colby’s lawns, however. There are plenty of great ways to spend time outside within just a few mile radius of Miller library.

Personally, I love going for walks. One of my favorite options is to head down North Street from Colby’s Athletic Center. On your right — near Maine General Hospital — is an entrance to a beautiful trail along the Messalonskee Stream.

This trail was specifically created as a “Born Learning” trail by the Waterville Rotary Club. This means that the trail features a number of stations encouraging children to interact with a parent through language, literacy and motor skill exercises. If you love seeing children playing and enjoying the weather, this trail is perfect for you.

At the end of the trail, you can choose to take a left to loop back to Colby using North Street’s sidewalk. Along your way, make sure to grab an ice cream at the Dairy Cone, which will be on your right. Dairy Cone is not your only option; bring a basketball or tennis racket and spend some time in North Street’s Recreation Area which features wide-open green space, tennis courts, a basketball court and a soccer field. You will also usually find lots of young kids running around and playing in the Judge Morton A. Brody Playground, which makes the walking experience very lively.

If you are still energetic after all this walking, you can consider taking a right before you get to Colby to head towards the Quarry Road trails. These tranquil trails offer 8.2 miles of hiking and bicycling paths.

Although Quarry Road and the Born Learning path are great trails, you do not even need to leave Colby’s bubble to find some great walking opportunities. My favorite walk on Colby’s campus is up on top of Runnals Hill by the observatory, which offers a stunning view of Winslow on clear-skied days. If you keep walking, you will see the entrance to a trail on your right just before you get to Colby’s garden. Take this trail for a fun romp through the forest that eventually ends up bringing you to the side of Runnals Hill. On nice days, you can usually find Waterville locals heading here to walk their dogs. From the end of the trail, you are just a minute away from Dana if you need to grab a glass of water or a snack.

Another great area to explore is Perkin’s Arboretum. I like to go running through the arboretum since the trees provide plentiful shade. Walks through the arboretum take you to some beautiful streams. If you’re lucky, you will even see a hairy woodpecker or a ruffed grouse. If you are interested, Colby’s Environmental Studies website offers a helpful guide to making the most out of your walk through the beautiful arboretum.

Just because Colby is in a bubble, does not mean you have to feel stuck. In these last beautiful weeks before the end of the school year, make sure you do everything you can to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and walks of Central Maine.