Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cross Fells Trail Trek

I had a few hours of free time Friday morning so I decided to hike a local trail before the heavy rain that was predicted rolled in. I've had the Cross Fells Trail on my mind for a while so this was a good opportunity to check in out. The air was heavy with humidity and the sounds of songbirds as I entered the woods at the Goodyear Ave trail head. It wasn't long before I was greeted with my first uphill and was I soon overheated. It didn't help that I was pushing the pace trying to complete the nine miles of out and back in three hours. It was an unlikely task but that was all the time I had to spare.

The trail was typical Middlesex Fells with an abundance of rocks and roots with an occasion smooth path. The terrain was constantly rolling with very few flat sections. The climbs were neither long nor steep but they were numerous as were the blue plastic bags lining the trail. They were all securely knotted and full of dog poop and a reminder that the Middlesex Fells is a haven for irresponsible dog owners. Thankfully, they were only close to the trail head and I did not encounter any more the deeper I got into the woods.

A rocky climb.

Followed by a rocky descent.

A steep drop to a creek.

And up a stone step trail.

I lost the trail after reaching the summit of Wenepoykin Hill where it intersects with the Skyline Trail.  I saw my first day hiker there and without thinking followed him down the same same path. Not seeing a blue blaze on the descent, and none shortly after, I realized I had taken the Skyline Trail down Wenepoykin. I was still about a mile from the western terminus of the trail and running out of time so I decided to backtrack up the Skyline Trail, pick up the Cross Fells Trail where a left it and return  to my car.

 Smooth rock slap trail ahead.

 Low clearance!

 A smoother section of trail.

The blue-blazed Cross Fells Trail.

On the return I stopped and talked briefly to another hiker coming towards me from the opposite direction. He told me there was a single lady slipper on the side of the trail just around the bend. Being too concerned with making time had caused me to miss it on my way out. I walked slowly around the bend trying to find the lady slipper among the brown leaves littering the forest floor.  Not only did I find it, I also saw two more set back from the trail. It was a reminder that it's not always about making miles. Slowing down and taking the time to enjoy the nature around us is just as important.  

Sometimes the smallest things are the most beautiful. 

 A gentle reminder to slow down or risk missing the forest's hidden gems.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bay Circuit Trail Hike - Map 10 Noon Hill Medfield to Rt 1 Walpole

Yay! I reached a milestone, sort of. I'm now onto the double-digit maps. Only four sections remain after I finish up with section 10. It feels like I'm taking baby steps on this quest to complete the BCT but I am making progress, albeit ever so slowly. The BCT was very well blazed on this 12 mile section and I never had any difficulties following the route. Another great hike with my daughter and not getting lost was a bonus!

 This wooden road along the power line was more difficult to walk on than you would think.

 Leaving the power line for a more conventional path.

 I can't begin to remember how many times the BCT has cut through an old stone wall.

 An example of the excellent blazing on the route. Thank you Town of Walpole and trail maintainers!

 Birthplace of Hannah Adams, daughter of Gov. Samuel Adams. I hear he makes a good beer.

More town bagging.

Entering the "old indian trail" section. The hardest two miles of the day were ahead.

Someone made a sweet campsite overlooking Mine Brook.

Two miles of ups and downs over steep-sided eskers make for slow going on the old indian trail.

 We abandoned our trusty walking sticks after leaving the old indian trail. Goodbye loyal friends!

I think I've converted my daughter. She's already asking "When are we hiking again?" 

 Cat tails on Clark Pond

 A pleasant waterfall cascading over a small dam.

 Spur trail to Duffy's Point over the bridge.

 Cushy trail.

Plum Island to Walpole - 163 miles!

More photos of the hike can be found HERE.

BCT Map 10: 12.2 miles
Surface split: 5.9m roads, 6.3m trails
Elevation gain: 551 feet
Highest point: 275 ft.
Start point: Rocky Narrows Reservation, Sherborn
End point: Route 1, Walpole
Other towns: None
Green Spaces: Mine Brook, Walpole Town Forest, Neponset River Conservation Area
Hydration: 32 oz water
Fuel: One Cilff Bar, PBJ sandwich
Footwear: Brooks Cascadia 5, Wright socks
Total BCT covered to date: 163 miles
Surface split: 95 trail and dirt road, 61 pavement, 7 paved rail trail
Total elevation gain: 6909+
Highest point: Nobscot Hill 602 ft
BCT remaining: 39m estimated

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