Tag Archives: trees

High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary (Shelburne, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 14, 2017

Location: Patten Road, Shelburne, MA

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: there are 2 parking lots.  The first parking lot (called the “overflow parking lot”) which has room for about 10 cars is at the beginning of the entrance.  The other parking area is about a quarter of a mile down the main entrance road.  On the left of the road is room for about a dozen cars.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 782 acres, 5 miles/easy with some moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No

Website: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: scenic, “high ledge”, wildlife,  easy trails, vernal pool, flowers, foliage during the fall

IMG_8690

Known for its pretty views of the Deerfield River Valley and Mount Greylock area, its variety of flowers along its trails and its various wildlife, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for a quick hike to some beautiful views.

The sanctuary is a mixture of 5 miles of paved and dirt trails with a few boardwalks over some marshy areas.

Even though it was near the end of the foliage season, there was still lots of foliage on the trees during my visit.   The leaves on the ground added to the beauty of the sanctuary.

 

Rumor has it wolves roamed the High Ledges.  The Wolves’ Den Loop Trail leads to a geologic feature where local lore has it that the last wolf in the region was exterminated.

The highlight of the sanctuary is the overlook, or “high ledge” along the (wait for it…)…Ledges Trail.  The rolling hills and colorful trees offer a  picturesque vista.

 

It’s said you can see Mount Greylock from the ledge on a clear day. See it?  It’s right there…

Well, it’s somewhere there.

DSC_0024

The trails at High Ledges are easy overall.  But there are some strenuous areas.  My advice would be to stay on the main trails and to basically back track or follow the trail you took to the vista since that is the most direct route back and the trail is the easiest to travel, unless you’re looking for a challenge.  I felt the urge for a challenge that day and I usually do try the various trails so I can get a good feel of the park.  However, there really wasn’t, save for a few chipmunks and trees, along the side trails.

 

Chipmunks were busy storing nuts, and chewing on a few, in preparation for another long winter that will sadly soon be here.

 

 


Prescott Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Old Bay St as well as street parking throughout the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Prescott Park

Highlights: flowers and plants, scenic, family friendly

IMG_3873

Bursting with color and fragrances, Prescott Park is sure to impress even those with the faintest of green thumbs.

A gift from Sarah and Josie Prescott in 1940, Prescott Park has come a long way from its industrial beginnings.   The highlight of the park, at least during the summer, has to be the garden that sits at the entrance by Old Bay St and Marcy St.  But, Prescott Park has more than just flowers there.

Prescott Park is much more than the garden that I focused on during my visit.  In fact, it is such a big area that they hold concerts with such popular artists as Aaron Neville and Valerie June and other events at the park.  During my visit they were holding a children’s party where a play was being performed.

 

 

There are two memorials at Prescott Park.  The first memorial is a fountain which is dedicated to  a fountain dedicated to Charles Emerson Hovey, an Ensign in the United States Navy and Portsmouth, NH native, who was killed in action on September 24, 1911.

 

 

The next memorial is less obvious.  A sign and anchor stand in front of the prominent flower bed at the front of the garden.

 

 

The sign in front of the flower bed states “A Salute To An Ordinary Hero.”  This “ordinary hero” was Billy Juse, a New Hampshire native, who died in an underground tunnel while he was working on the Deer Island Project during the 1990’s.  He was 34.  Since he and another coworker, Tim Nordeen, died on the same day John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s body was recovered, his story was overlooked in the news.  One solemn reminder remains in the park.

There are also view of the Piscataqua River, a popular spot for boating and kayaking.

 

 

There are benches, art and pretty trees and flowers on the way to the garden at Prescott Park.

 

 

Prescott Park has a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers.  Since we’ve had so much rain and

 

 

The flowers ranged from the common to the unique.

 

 

To the left in the photo is Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Orange (yeah they look red to me as well),  To the right is the Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Pink.  Yeah, I know all of the types of flowers in the world.  Kidding.  They all had their names neatly written on them on cards by the flower beds.

Now for the truly scary part of the tour. The dinosaurs have invaded Prescott Park.  This is a great way to get kids interested and involved in viewing the flowers and plants at Prescott.  I

 

 

Sadly, dogs are not allowed at the flower garden area of Prescott Park.  But, I did see lots of dogs like Teddy, a 10 year old Pomeranian,  passing by on Old Bay Street which is next to the flower garden.

 

 

Today’s featured link is a link to an article that appeared in the Boston Globe magazine about the tragedy on the Deer Island Project in which Billy Juse and some of his co workers perished: Deer Island Tragedy

Please like me on Facebook.


Bare Cove Park (Hingham, MA)

 

Dates Of Visit: July 28 & 30, 2017

Location: Bare Cove Park Drive, Hingham, MA (about 20 minutes south of Boston)

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking areas.  The main parking area on Bare Cove Park Drive has room for about 40-50 vehicles

Trail Size/Difficulty: 484 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit stats: 3:16, 985 calories, 10,069 steps, 4.21 miles

Highlights: scenic, water, family friendly, dock house with historical military items, wildlife

Website: Bare Cove Park

IMG_5027

I made two visits to Bare Cove Park.  The first time I visited the park was July 28th.  I got there late on the 28th and the lighting was poor.  So, I stopped by two days later, Sunday, July 30.

As you can see by the photos, there are some beautiful sunsets at Bear Cove.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t very good, though.

 

Once the site of a U.S. Naval depot (more on this later), Bare Cove Park now is the home to a variety of wildlife.  I found many birds during my visit.  There are also supposed to be fox, deer and other animals at the park.  I didn’t see any of them.  But, I did see evidence of them.

If you look closely at the little bird photo at the end, the bird has his or her lunch.

 

There was a crisp pre-autumn chill in the air when I made my way to Bare Cove Park.  It reminded me of the mornings you whittle away before the college and pro football games start.  But, I’d rather spend my day at Bare Cove anytime.

The views are simply amazing.

 

The thing that stood out to me mostly are the variety of pretty trees and flowers at the park.

 

Bare Cove is only 484 acres and it’s very easy to get around, even without a map of the park.  Trust me, I didn’t even get lost and I always get lost.  The trails are easy with hardly any inclines and they are mostly paved if you stay on the main trail.

 

Because of its proximity to Boston, Hingham was considered an important location for the military to produce ammunition and other supplies during World War II.  The magazines, or manufacturing  buildings, ran 24 hours, 7 days a week and employed thousands of people at is peak.

The dock house (only open Sunday from 12-2) has a variety of items from World War II that were manufactured in this very same area.

 

There are also two memorials outside of the dockchouse as well as other items from the days of the hey day at Bare Cove.  The ammunition depot was closed in the early 1970’s.

The memorial to the left, lying vertically on the ground, is dedicated to the men and women who worked at the ammunition depot during World War i, World War II and the Korean Conflict.

The memorial to the right standing up is dedicated to naval crew members who were lost when some ammunition exploded on a ship they were loading.

 

While dogs are allowed at Bare Cove the park is not considered a “dog park” per se.  All dogs are expected to be leashed or respond immediately to voice commands.  In my visits there all of these dogs fit into both or either category.

Here are a few of the cute four legged visitors at Bare Cove that I ran into during my visits.

Hickory is a 7 year old tree walking coon hound.

 

Bronn, named after a Games Of Throne charcater, is a 9 month old Newfie.  His mommy was teaching to fetch.

 

Gracie is a super friendly 2 year old pitbull.

 

Tundra (on the left), a 2 year old Golden Retriever, just got finished with his swim and was getting ready to go home.  His sibling, Piper (on the right), didn’t want to leave..

 

During my first visit, on the 28th of July, I met a very nice lady with three dogs.

America is a 10 year old mixed breed dog who got that name because the dog is a mix of many breeds, kind of like how America is a mix of all kinds of people.

IMG_3076

Sophia is a 6 year old chihuahua.

IMG_3062

Lily is a 10 year old Lab and Collie mix.

 

 

Bruiser is a 6 year old part pitbull.

 

Below is a video of fireflies at Bare Cove Park.  The lack of light and various animal aand bird noises give it a little bit of a spooky feel.

Please consider joining my Facebook page for updates, additional photos, news and other fun stuff not included in my blog!

Today’s featured link is a link to a 30 minute documentary that explains the history of Bear Cove Park.  The documentary was put together by Scott McMillan, the very same man who gave me a detailed tour of the dockhouse.

 


Windsor Lake (North Adams, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 1, 2017

Location: George’s Fair Way, North Adams, MA (almost 3 hours northwest of Boston, MA and 1 hour east of Albany, NY)

Hours: gates close at 6 p.m. not sure when they open.

Cost: $5

Parking: There is room for about 30 cars or so in the parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, some areas are handicapped accessible

Dog Friendly:No

Highlights: lake, boat launch, wildlife, beach, campground, play area for children, fishing, concession stand, Frisbee golf course

IMG_1323

One of the many lakes in western Massachusetts, Windsor Lake is one of the lesser known lakes in the area.

With its sheer beauty and family friendly activities, the $5 entrance fee (there is an additional fee if you park your RV or camper at their campground) is well worth it.  If you are a resident you may also qualify for a parking sticker.

Despite its scenic backdrop, well maintained beach and convenient boat launch, Windsor Lake still remains one of the hidden secrets of the northwestern region of Massachusetts.

Since it is such a natural beauty, it is very easy to capture the beauty of lake Windsor.

The trees, plants and flowers at Windsor Lake highlight the beauty around you at every turn.

There are also two play areas for children, picnic areas and even a concession stand at the lake.  And, yes, I so wanted to hit that pinata below.

Fishing and rafting or boating are popular activities at the lake.

There are also a variety of birds, insects and other animals evident at the lake.

Today’s Nomad featured blogger is WordPress blogger, poet artist and North Adams based Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student Erica Barreto.  Erica posted about an interesting event called The Creativity Capsule that was hosted at Windsor Lake earlier this year.


Harold Parker State Forest (No. Andover, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: June 25, 2017

Location: 305 Middleton St., No. Andover, MA (about 30 minutes north of Boston and about 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Cost: There are several parking stations to pay per the hour or you can park at the headquarters which is what I did.  There wasn’t a charge to park at the headquarters the day I visited.   The charge to park at Berry Pond is $5 for MA vehicles; $6 for non-MA vehicles

Hours: trails are open sunrise to sunset.  Berry Pond Beach is open 10am-6pm from June 25- Sept 5.

Parking: There are several parking lots throughout the automated pay stations.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 35 miles of logging roads and trails/easy with some challenging inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the main paves trail is and Berry Pond has several handicapped parking spaces right near the beach.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, beach, lakes, extensive trail system, campground area, rock climbing

Website: Harold Parker State Forest

Trail Map: Harold Parker State Forest Trail Map

IMG_6181

One of the more vast state forests I have visited to date, Harold Parker State Forest boasts over 35 miles of trails and roads, a beach (Berry Pond), several ponds and lakes and a variety of wildlife.  I spent over 6 hours there and, while I did cover a lot of ground, there was surely some a lot I didn’t see.  Tip of the day: if you do go, bring a trail map!

The trails at Harold Parker are generally easy with some moderate inclines.  Due to the various streams and wetlands, there are also several boardwalk trails.

 

Harold Parker is a popular spot for cyclists.  According to the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) the single track riding rates at Harold Parker State Forest are: 30% easy, 30% moderate, and 40% difficult with some rocky sections.

It is a little difficult finding the exact entrance to Harold Parker (I found 3 different addresses but I included the address of the headquarters at the top of this post).  It’s not a bad thing, though, because you can park in any of the various parking areas.  Just to make  sure to pay at the pay station when you do park.  You can also drive to each different parking area as the main road is paved and fairly wide enough for traffic, cyclists and hikers to share the road.

I began my day at Stearns Pond, one of the many ponds in the area.  Fishing is allowed and I met a friendly fisherman who goes there regularly to cast his lines.  They also allow non-motorized boating in the ponds.  There is an annual fishing festival held in September at the state forest.

 

Stearns Pond is only one of the many ponds, rivers and streams at Harold Parker State Forest.  In fact, it’s hard to keep track of which pond or river you are at, even with the aid of a map.  But, there were some amazing views from the various bodies of water.

 

Unexpectedly, I came across this huge rock.  I bet there’s a good story about this rock.  I couldn’t find anything about in my research, though.  It’s one big rock, though!  Right!?

 

One of the highlights of Harold Parker is Berry Pond which is essentially a beach area and playground for children and families.  It was a perfect beach day and the beach was packed.  But, with photographic trickery I was able to photograph the beach without showing the sun bathers and swimmers.  After all, not everyone wants to be seen in their Speedo.

 

Walking along the SKUG Reservation Trail, I came across the site of an old quarry and soapstone mill, the Jenkins Mill.  There’s not much now to indicate it was once a quarry.  If not for the marking on the map and a few rocks dispersed around the area, I would not have known it was once there.  It’s kind of a shame that something that meant so much to so many people and was once such an important part of the area is now little more than a blip on the screen.

 

There are lots of birds, chipmunks, frogs and other critters visible along the trail and in the water at Harold Parker.

 

Harold Parker State Forest is a dog friendly park.  However, I didn’t see as many dogs as I thought I would.   I did manage to see these three cuties, though!

Suzie is a 7 month old English Setter.  She is hearing impaired.  So, she can hear some sounds.  Her dad uses signals to help him communicate with her.

 

Bella (or “Bell”) is a 9 year old Beagle and Lab mix.

 

Herbie is a 1 year old Pit mix.

 

Below is a video of one of the brooks that runs through Harold Parker State Forest.  Enjoy!

Please connect with me on Facebook to see more New England related content!


Rattlesnake Gutter (Leverett, MA)

 

Dates of Visits: May 27 & 29, 2017

Location: 16 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd, Leverett, MA

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is not a designated parking area.  But, there is an area to park by the front gate on the side of the road on Guttersnake Rd

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.93 miles (Rattlesnake Gutter trail) with connecting loops and other trails that can add a significant amount of distance to your hike.  Easy too moderate trails.

Handicapped Accessible: No.  The terrain is rocky with some steep inclines

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit Stats: 3.45 miles, 711 calories, 8,027 steps

Highlights: chasm, wildlife, easy to moderate trails, art, unique rock formations, ponds

Website: Rattlesnake Gutter Trust

Trail Map: Rattlesnake Gutter Trail Map

IMG_7093

Don’t let the name scare you.  There really aren’t any, or at least not many, rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.  Legend has it rattlesnakes once did populate the area.  But, due mostly to a concerted effort to rid the area of these snakes, you’e rarely see a rattlesnake there.

I actually had to make two visits to this trail because some of the photos on one of memory cards were not saved.  Yeah, okay, twist my arm.  I’ll go again, I figured to myself.

Before you even reach the trail, there is an interesting find in a field at the entrance of Rattlesnake Gutter Rd.  A group of bee hives sat under a tree in a pretty field while what looked like a falcon soared high above.

The trail is known more for the chasm that runs through most of the main trail from the Rattlesnake Gutter Rd entrance.  The trail is described as a boulder that runs 3/4 mile long and 1/8 mile wide.  It produces a lot of pool-like streams between the rocky edges.

There are also several pools of water along the trail with some frogs and other aquatic animals.

Between the rocky sides there is a roughly mile trail with several mini waterfall-like streams and a very long way down if you’re not careful.

The dirt trails are easy to moderate in some areas due to the somewhat strenuous inclines in some areas.  At least they were strenuous to a middle aged hiking novice.

The origins of the chasm are unclear.  Some theories include a sub glacial melt water channel or a tear at the site of an old geologic fault.  Another theory suggests it was caused by a spillway for a temporary pro glacial lake.  I would go with the last one.  Just because I like to say “pro glacial.”  In any event, the rocks show the aftermath of some major event.

Unexpectedly, we found some art along the rocks.

It’s not known who created this art or why.  But, it is pretty cool.  You know how if you look at a photo or rock long enough, you can see other images?  Well, to the right of the tree in the photo below just above the greenery and boulder in the right hand corner of the photo, there appears to be possibly the outline of a cat’s face (you may have to tilt your head to see it). Or, maybe I’ve just drank too much caffeine and I’m seeing things.   It could just be the way the rocks appear from the weather and erosion.

IMG_7079

We took the main guttersnake trail to the connector loop to Whitney Rd.  The connecting loop is hard to find.  It is actually a trail made into the side of the hill on the trail that was made into a zig zag design. I wouldn’t have probably found it if I hadn’t noticed someone walking down what looked like the side of a hill.

The Whitney Trail looks a little confusing at first (make sure to follow the red marked trees).  But, after a short distance, there will be signs and maps that will help you stay on the trail.  That is one of the unusual things about this trail.  There are several maps posted throughout the trail.  There are alternate routes you can take if you have the time and curiosity.  While I am always curious, I didn’t the time.  So, I stayed on the Whitney Rd trail.  This intersection of trails can take you farther into different sections of the trail system.  But, as time was a factor, I was unable to explore more.

IMG_7134

Whitney Rd is just that, a road.  There are some pretty houses, cute decor and signs as well as beautiful landscapes along this part of the trail.

There were also some interesting rock formations and pretty trees along the way.

Along Whitney Rd, on the left of the trail we saw am empty area with tall trees and what looked like an overlook.  To our surprise, we found what looked like an area for parties or other events.  A van with speakers and what looked like an audio system was parked in the area.  There was also a table with chairs and jug of some kind of adult concoction and some other artistic designs.

Rattlesnake Gutter is the perfect place to take your dog.  Although, I would only recommend it for a “fit” dog, as I would recommend it for a “fit” person since the inclines can be deceivingly steep in some places.

These dogs had no problem with the trail.

Huckleberry is a rescue from Mississippi.

Luna is a 3 year old rescue.

Below are two videos of the streams at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.


Ravenswood Park (Gloucester, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 7, 2017

Location: 481 Western Ave, Gloucester, MA (about 1 hour northwest of Boston)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: there are 10 parking spots in the lot outside of the park, parking is also available on the side of the road near the park.  10-20 cars can safely fit in the area by the side of the road

IMG_4511

Trail Size/Difficulty: 10 miles of trails and former carriage roads. Moderate hiking. Carriage roads are covered with dense crushed stone and are generally wheelchair accessible.

Handicapped Accessible: The main trail and carriage roads are accessible at least for a while.  I walked it for over 2 miles and it was an easy, wide trail.  The side trails are much more rocky and challenging.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, lakes, vernal pools, easy to moderate trails

Fitbit Stats (distance walked, steps taken and calories burned according to Fitbit watch): 7.8 miles, 17,637 steps, 1,586 calories burned)

Website: Ravenswood Park

Trail Map: Ravenswood Park Trail Map

Although it is more famous for its long stretches of shoreline and its fishing industry, Gloucester is also home to some beautiful parks.  Boasting 10 miles of trails and several bodies of water, Ravenswood is teeming with wildlife.

One of the highlight of the park is Fernwood Lake.  Fernwood Lake is bisected by a walking path with open areas to photograph the lake and the animals that inhabit. it.

I took the Cedar Swamp Trail and hooked up onto the blue blazed Fernwood Lake Trail.  This trail is an easy 3 mile loop with many birds and trees along the path.  Of course, I went off trail to get some of my photos and I had to redouble my steps since I got a little lost.  So the hike was much more than 3 mile loop.  I took this trail partly because I thought it would be less traveled than some of the other trails and it was.  I didn’t run into many people taking these trails.  It has been a very rainy spring.  So there were lots of puddles and the area was very green.  The trails can be extremely rocky in some places, especially along the loop I took.  I did see a few runners.  But, not any cyclists.  As a side note, bikes are banned from March 1 until April 30 during the muddy season.

During my hike, I saw evidence of beavers

IMG_4484

And I saw these buds which will soon become blueberries.

During my visit, I saw turtles, birds, a few dogs that were visiting as well as some other critters.

Mica is a 5 year old Australian Sheepdog.

From left to right is Masy, a 3 year old Lab, and Riley, a 9 year old Lab.

Lucas is a 9 year old rescue Catahoula.