Tag Archives: chipmunk

Eastern Marsh Trail (Salisbury, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 21, 2017

Location: Friedenfels St, Salisbury, MA

Hours: accessible everyday

Cost: Free

Parking: There are 15 total parking spots designated for the rail trail.  There are 5 spots in the main parking lot on Friedenfels St at the entrance to the trail.  There are also 10 parking spots across the street from the main parking lot.  There is a larger parking lot in front of the main parking area that is a private lot.  Don’t park there as your car could be towed.

 

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.4 miles, flat, easy trail.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the main trail is handicapped accessible.  The side trails are not accessible due to the rocky trails and steep inclines.  There is ramp to the right of the staircase to the trail at the parking area.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, wide and easy trail, side trail, dog friendly, family friendly, benches to sit at, wildlife

Fitbit Stats: 1.8 miles, 502 calories, 4,504 steps (one way)

Website: Eastern Marsh Trail

Once the site of a grand railroad that ran from Boston to sections of Boston’s North Shore and New Hampshire, the Eastern Marsh Rail Trail is a true gem of the coastal section of the north shore (cities and towns north of Boston).

The railroad, which would be extended over time, began operating from Boston to Salem in 1838.  It would later be extended to Salisbury and other territories in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1840.

Alas, the last train crossed the Merrimack River in 1965, leaving behind abandoned rail lines.  Eventually, it was proposed that the rail lines should be converted to rail trails.  Now, many decades later, instead of being used by noisy engines often carrying dangerous cargo, the rail lines are being used for exercise, dog walking and just enjoying nature.

The 1.4 mile Eastern Marsh Trail connects to the Clipper City Rail Trail  to the south and the Ghost Trail to the north.

The Eastern Marsh Trail, which is part of a system of trails along the coastal north shore which includes Newburyport and Salisbury.

The trails at Eastern Marsh Trail are flat with no significant inclines.

The Stevens Trail is a short trail (about .4 mile) that hooks up back to the main trail.  There are some views and a cute bridge along the trail.  You may see a few chipmunks along the way.  It has some minor inclines but I would classify it as easy.  This trail is not handicapped accessible due to the rocky terrain and a bridge that only has steps and no ramp.

The views along the trail are beautiful.

There are still remnants from the original railroad at the beginning of the trail.  Maybe some day they will revive the rail!

This mural from the Salisbury Art Stroll held on May 13 was still remaining along the trail.  I just missed it by a week.  But, I may have to drop by next year to check out the art on display.  This mural was a collaborative effort worked on by a group of artists.

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There were lots of little critters on and off the trail.  I would hear rustling in the trees or bushes in one direction only to be distracted by some other sound of activity in another direction.

Birds

turtles

and chipmunks

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are just a few of the animals you may see on the trail.

But, birds, chipmunks and turtles aren’t the only animals who frequent the trail.

The trail is a popular with dogs and their walkers.

I love the “side eye” Peter, a 14 year old Golden Retriever, was giving his human walker in the first photo.  All he wanted to do was greet me and say hi.

I love how May’s white fur looked against the background.  May is a 6 year old Golden Doodle.

Look at the big smiles on Mako (on the right) and Murphy (on the left)!  Mako is 6.5 years old and Murphy is 7 years old.  They are both Labradors.

 


Keystone Arch Bridges Trail (Middlefield, MA)

Date visited: April 16, 2016

Location: Herbert Cross Rd, Middlefield, MA)

Cost: Free

Parking: There are only about half a dozen parking spots at the main parking area.  People park on the side of the road before the parking area.

Trails: The website describes the trails as being moderate.  i would describe them as being easy with slightly moderate inclines.

Keystone Arches Bridge Trail website

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The Keystone Arches Bridge Trail is full of surprises.  One of these surprises is a waterfall which is only a short jaunt down the main trail (about quarter of a mile from the entrance).

 

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Another short walk brings you to the main attraction, the Keystone Arch Bridge.

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The bridge was made from local Chester blue granite and reach up to 70 feet.  There is a weathered, crumbling stairway up the side of the bridge.  Bear in mind, the stairs are a little tricky if you do take this route.  I took this stairway as far as I could.  The views were very pretty.

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There is a train railroad that continues on to the bridge

 

The Keystone Arches Bridge Trail encompasses area that used to be an artist colony.  There are remnants of the colony present off the main trail

There was a clock tower

 

and the remnants of what used to be a swimming pool.  Anyone want to take a quick dip?

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and some other foundations of what were once buildings

 

Along the trail there are many pretty trees, plants, waterfalls and other interesting structures and rocks.

 

The Keystone Arches Bridge Trail boasts a variety of wildlife such as moose, bobcats, fox and a variety of other animals.  I found this critter during my travels.

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The 5 mile loop at Keystone Arches Bridge Trail are dirt trails with some jutting rocks and holes which often form puddles and dirt which must make it challenging for the cyclists who frequent the trail.  The trails are easy to moderate with some challenging inclines.  The website cautions the trail is not suitable for novice cyclists.

 

There are other arches and bridges at the Keystone Arches Bridge Trail and it is not unusual to see people climbing up some of the arches.  However, we only went about a couple miles before turning back because of time constraints (see future blog post).  The kayakers who frequent the stream at the Keystone Arches Trail, were absent due a white water race that particular day.  But, normally they are present in large numbers.

Along the trail are some impressive rapids.

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I couldn’t help notice how the rapids mirror our own lives: rapid and frenzied activity one moment, calm, serene the next.

The video below gives a glimpse of the power, beauty and serenity of the rapids.

 

Durango, a 12 year old Australian Sheepdog, is the mascot of the Chester Railway Station And Museum and he’s a great tour guide.  The  Chester Railway Station Museum had organized a tour of the trail and Durango went along with them.

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Balance Rock State Park (Pittsfield, MA)

Date Visited: March 26, 2016

Cost: Free

Location: Balance Rock, Rd, Pittsfield, MA (about 2.5 hours west of Boston, MA or 1 hour east of Albany, NY)

Hours: Sunrise until 6 p.m.

Parking: There is parking for about up to 50 cars or so at the Balance Rock entrance.

 

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During the last ice age, some 12,000 to 100,000 years ago, rocks were haphazardly pushed to and fro, creating this unusual formation. Or, someone put one rock on top of another. Either the product of glacial movement or an elaborate hoax, the namesake of Balance Rock State Park is a huge attraction.

But, before you view the impressive rock, there are rocks and beauty aplenty at the entrance to Balance Rock Park.

By the entrance, there is a stream that runs along the side of the park

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After a short drive up the main entrance road (about half a mile), you will reach Balance State Park’s main attraction; the rock.  We were a bit disappointed to find the rock right there next to the parking lot.  While it is convenient and easy for visitors to find, it would have been nice to have to hike to it.  It would have built up the anticipation.  Despite the journey being anticlimactic, the rock was impressive.  As you can tell from the photos and attached video, the rock never touches the ground.  Unfortunately, it has been vandalized which was very disappointing to see.

The rock is 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.  It is resting on another much smaller rock.  This, the story goes, is the product of the last glacial age.  It also goes to show that no matter how big and seemingly powerful someone or something may be, the rock and we wouldn’t be the same without the help of a little friend.

I noticed how some of the rocks seem to have eyes and lips.  I am not sure if this was due to nature, erosion or the work of mankind.

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It turns out, there are many rocks in the area

The residents of Balance Rock State Park are very photogenic.  He was shy at first.  But, eventually, he came out and I was able to get some close ups of him.

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Video of the stream at the entrance to Balance Rock State Park

Walking tour of the rock

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