Most walks & hikes in Evan's Notch are quiet! So which one did we take?* Probably a more well known one: Shell Pond Loop.
*This is a mega flashback to the summer, my picture-taking efforts have been weak!
The trail lies almost entirely on private property but corteous hikers are permitted. Parking is down Stone House Road off of Rt 113 in Evan's Notch and there are a few spots just before the gate - though as we left, vans were lining up along the side of the road as well. We didn't see a soul until the end of our walk but the lot was full when we returned, though I suspect many were there for other hikes: the property also offers access to Blueberry Mountain, a great little hike with a gorgeous view.
As we came around the east side of the pond and started traveling north, we finally got some good wallowing spots, much to the girls' excitement. It also looked like it could get very muddy (it does shortly afterwards)! There is one spot with a nice view of the pond and a stone bench but no easy access. The girls found where wildlife have parted the brush and enjoyed their last dip in the pond before we continued.
This is where I reeled the girls in from their long lines, as the trail passed by the residences and I wondered if I had erred again. Looking back over the photos, we were on the right track... which also serves as an air strip. All's well that ends well!
After the pretty but scorching walk through the field, we enjoyed the partial shade of the road and final small stream/water opportunity for the girls before returning to the car, which was no longer alone in the lot; the early bird gets the empty trails - again!.
While there's nothing particularly outstanding about Shell Pond, it is an undeniably enjoyable walk in the woods. Different sites put it at 3.4-4.0 miles in length. The trail is wide and easy to maneuver, the girls found ample water to stay hydrated, and there was an intriguingly wild element to navigating the flooded north side of the trail. I recall thinking the loop would be a very nice snowshoeing location - if the road is open in the winter. In the moment, it was also perfect for walking with Arya, who continues to improve in her reactivity but sometimes it's nice for all to simply walk without any triggers or training! Others may use the beginning of the trail as a means to an end (Blueberry Mountain); we were more than satisfied with our walk around the pond and its limited but very Maine-y views.