Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trail Report for October 20

On Monday my sister and I managed a quick hike up the Wapack Trail to the summit of Mount Watatic.  We did scramble down a side trail to the second lower summit to the east where the views are better.  The sky was in a state of flux, beautiful blue sky but clouds gathering as we prepare for three days of rain.  We delayed the start of our hike for about an hour and a half, waiting for temps to nudge a little closer to 40 degrees F.  At our usual start time, the temperature was closer to 31!!  There was a brisk wind on the summit, but I couldn't resist trying to take some pictures with my phone.  My sister was aiming for time, so backpacks were left home:  no camera, binoculars, thermos of coffee.  The purple highpoint just under the clouds is Mount Wachusett, to the south of Watatic.  The Midstate Trail connects these two mountains on its way to Rhode Island.  We do hike a small portion of the Midstate but have been unable to find the next piece of it as some new home construction has changed things.  Maybe this fall on a Friday hike with my husband we'll find it.  I think we've missed the bright reds.  All the swamp maples changed in late August through September so now we are heavy into orange and russet and yellow.  The trails are just beautiful carpeted in color.

 In 2002, the towns of Ashby and Ashburnham purchased Mount Watatic.  This was championed by a group of citizens who wanted to prevent a cell phone tower on the summit, as well as preventing any kind of development.  In doing so, trees are now growing up and choking out the beautiful scenic outlooks that were once plentiful along the trail.  Perching on top of a cairn on the summit, I managed to get this glimpse of Mount Monadnock to the west.
 This view is looking toward the east, over Ashby towards Boston.  With our naked eye, we could just make out skyscrapers on the horizon.  They are not seen with my phone.
These two markers are side by side in the stonewall that runs along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border.  The tall granite post marks the state boundary. The A & A stands for Ashby and Ashburnham Massachusetts, where the two towns' borders meet.  I did not get a picture of the New Hampshire side of this marker, but it is engraved NI NH, standing for New Ipswich, New Hampshire. The low flat stone marks the northern terminus of the Midstate Trail. 

The Midstate Trail is a 92 mile hiking trail which extends from Rhode Island crossing the gentle hills of central Massachusetts and eventually connects to the Wapack Trail in New Hampshire.  This is just about the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  My sister and I hope to hike the entire Wapack Trail at some point.  Our goal for this fall was to hike the 22 mile trail in three sections.  We have done the first one....sort of.  We did not begin at the trail head to include Mount Watatic, but began it about a half mile beyond these markers.  Maybe next year we will start section hiking the Midstate Trail!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

It is amazing and maybe a bit embarrassing to realize that I have lived in a community for 27 years and have only recently discovered some hidden treasures.  The first picture is the abandoned road my sister and I have begun walking this year for the first time.  Once a week we try to venture off onto lesser walked paths in the woods when my husband has time to go with us.  Last Friday we discovered this section of waterfalls.  It did involve a water crossing to get back onto the road but no one fell in!  Just beautiful and right in our own backyard, so to speak.