Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mass Central Rail Trail. Waltham MA

After leaving off in Belmontthe Central Massachusetts Railroad remnant picks up at Beaver Street in Waltham where Beaver Brook threads through it at several points.

If the Somerville and Cambridge segments are showcases for state of the art linear park sections, the Waltham portions are more mysterious.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Charles River Link Trail Medfield MA.

The southern end of the Charles River Link Trail meets the Bay Circuit Trail after passing through wilds around the grounds of the decommissioned Medfield State Hospital now gradually becoming part of Medfield State Forest.

The trailhead on the eastern side is in Dover just to the north of the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Urban Aspects: Medford MA Shepherd Brooks Estate.

The Shepherd Brooks Estate is another era's country house owned by the prominent Brooks family.

This is one of the more amusing things I learn as I sift through layers of current and past infrastructure. To Longfellow or Brooks, Wellesley or north Medford was as rural as the White Mountains might be today.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mystic Link Trail : Mystic Lakes.

The northward lacing of bikeways along the Mystic River watershed clings closely to the charming Mystic Lakes in the passage from Medford to Winchester before arriving at the mouth of the Aberjona River.

It is an older parkway system made by the now vanquished MDC.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Urban Aspects. Watertown Branch Rail Trail Conversion.

The Watertown Branch railroad line served the Watertown Arsenal and made a run toward the Waltham border.

It veered away from the Fitchburg Line near Sherman Street in Cambridge and followed Fresh Pond along its eastern side before turning toward Watertown.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Ipswich MA Prospect Hill to Linebrook Woods.

The enthusiasm Ipswich evinces for the Bay Circuit Trail and its own extensive trail system is noticeable as soon as you cross the border in the north.

It is one of the more exciting aspects of Essex County, a convergence of astute organizations collaborating at adding to the value of a region covering everything from heritage facets to critical ecology research in the Great Marsh.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Neponset River Greenway Revisited: Dorchester and Milton.

I first began exploring this river last year and readily determined that it is worthy of greater recognition.

The Neponset River Greenway is a work in progress with some significant completed sections.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bay Colony Rail Trail Needham MA.

The Bay Colony Railroad was a short line between Newton and Milford MA with a section shared by the Needham commuter rail line.

It was originally part of the NY/New Haven system and then ended up as a bit of Conrail.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mass Central Rail Trail : Somerville and Cambridge.

The Massachusetts Central Rail Trail is easily the most elaborate one of the various spoke trail projects underway.

The Central Massachusetts Railroad was a line that aimed to compete as a way to Albany NY. It was discontinued in 1971.

A part of it already is proposed as a segment of the Bay Circuit in the Wayland and 
Sudbury area.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mystic Link Trail: Medford MA. Medford Square to Lower Mystic Lake.

The Mystic River Watershed curls neatly through the long flow of my memory since birth.

I almost see the ghost footsteps of those who went before me, and my own as a toddler.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Urban Aspects.Quincy MA The Neponset River at Squantum Point.

If the Charles River and its grand Esplanade might be thought of as Boston's front porch, then the Neponset River might be seen as its enchanting back yard.

Unlike the Mystic and Charles, with their impoundments located at the river mouths, the damming of the Neponset happens a bit further upstream so it has a fairly extensive section in sync with tidewater rhythms.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail Medfield MA Noon Hill.

I spent a good part of autumn climbing the local Bay Circuit hills like a form of midget peak bagging. And, just as when I used to climb 3000 plus foot things up north, I'm indifferent to such practices  I haul my carcass up a mountain for a view.

That is what Noon Hill has. It is a good one. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail Medfield MA The Shattuck Reservation.

The Shattuck Reservation lies along the Charles River in Medfield and is part of a suite of outstanding parcels owned by the Trustees of Reservations to protect the upper river.

It's the lowland counterpart to Noon Hill and was the beneficiary of a brand new Bay Circuit Trail reroute this summer.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail Lincoln MA. Walden Woods to Farrar Pond.

The Bay Circuit Trail enters Lincoln from the north in Walden Woods and exits via Wayland.

The essential quality and character of this town would probably be recognizable to its erstwhile roamer, Thoreau, today, beyond a few baffling new things.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail : Southborough MA The Sudbury Reservoir.

The Sudbury Reservoir has an interesting situation. It was a system made in the 1870s to quench Bostons thirst and wash it after earlier attempts wouldn't scale.

And when that failed, it was necessary to drown several towns in the center of the state to make the Quabbin, but I digress.

Bay Circuit Trail Andover MA Conservation Commission Woodland.

The third parcel one passes through between the Harold Parker State Forest and the Ward Reservation is one of those quasi nameless places that often turn out to be among the best places along the trail.

According to the Holy Writ, (also known as the trail directions), this parcel is simply the Andover Conservation Commission Woodland. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Andover MA Skug River Reservation..

There are some Bay Circuit communities that serve as activity hubs in their particular corner of the system. They are fully engaged in robust open space enhancement work and act as best practices benchmark locations.

And, of these, Andover is a place to revisit again and again. And of its places, the Skug River Reservation is particularly rewarding with a compelling convergence of history and nature.

Bay Circuit Trail: Walpole MA The Wonder That is Mine Brook.

While the Bay Circuit Trail has many well defined places under the jurisdiction of the best open space advocates in the region, it also has these fascinating, nearly nameless places where even figuring out the jurisdiction takes a bit of digging.

The Mine Brook section would be one of these. It is essentially a wetland protection buffer for the Walpole water supply. A run of eskers, almost in a skein, makes a dogleg with a short southerly bit bending to a longer easterly one. The trail begins its easterly run to Duxbury in a stepwise fashion.

It is also a headwater of the Neponset River watershed.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Rowley MA The Rural Rowley Role.

Rowley has a smaller population than its counterparts to the north and south and it has evinced a bit less enthusiasm for the Bay Circuit Trail than might be hoped.

When I visited on a crisp and bright September day on the heels of a newborn Autumn, I was intercepted by a stern but gracious town law officer, who evidently got a call from some other inhabitant about the suspicions spun of me wandering with a camera. 

I waved my print out Bay Circuit crap map kit at him and he scoffed... "Bay Circuit... never heard of it..." while probably weighing my hazard value on whatever scale they use. It was pretty funny considering I was standing on it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Newbury MA The Road to Rowley

Many great basic day hikes for the Bay Circuit Trail are adapted to commuter rail and the southward course of the trail at Joppa Flats works well with the locations of the Newburyport and Rowley stations.

The trail soon meets the Spencer Peirce Little farmhouse, one of the Commonwealth's oldest structures and a fairly unique one in its design.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: At the Plum Island Beginning, Newbury MA.

The Plum Island trail head in the North at Newbury, Massachusetts is a perfect contrast to its counterpart in Duxbury down South.

The latter is a quiet and sheltered salt marsh cove while Plum Island is one of the more exposed and pounded stretches of strand along the whole Commonwealth coast.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Terra Incognita Part 4. Pembroke MA.

Boardwalk Bridge at J. J. Shepherd Forest Pembroke MA.

The Bay Circuit Trail segment through Pembroke offers a transition back and forth between a moraine  area and its outwash plain. 

It leaves Hanson at the J.J. Shepherd Memorial Forest along the basin forming Indian Head Pond and runs thence to outwash shoals of a cranberry bog at Tubbs Meadow.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Terra Incognita Part 3. Hanson MA.

Burrage Pond Hanson MA

Hanson is a fascinating satellite town of the city of Brockton mainly located a bit below the moraine line that the Bay Circuit Trail skirts in northern Plymouth County.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Terra Incognita Part 2. The Bridgewaters.

Satucket River East Bridgewater MA

The Bay Circuit Trail winds through interesting parts of West and East Bridgewater as it heads to the southern coast edge short with a dip into the main namesake of Bridgewater. The many tendrils of the Taunton River Watershed wind through the drainage making it an appropriate area for a riparian trail routing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail: Terra Incognita Part 1. Easton MA.

Hockomock Swamp.

The southern stretch of the Bay Circuit Trail between Sharon and the coast may well be the most mysterious and an acquaintance who is far more familiar with the trail system than I describes it as "terra incognita"

I'll use the directional flow indicated by the Bay Circuit Alliance and begin with Easton. Sharon has an array of quality on line resources to alert the interested to its participation.   

Borderland State Park is an outstanding place to start. A walk along the Bay Circuit Trail from its northern entry point to its exit point in Easton is a striking encounter with transition.

Borderland State Park Easton Section.

In addition to crossing such legal jurisdictional boundaries as town and county lines, you are also walking a geology cross section. You begin at the near back side of a moraine edge with all the stark and evocative remains of fast glacial melt, exposed ledge, substantial and long boulder trains and an overall landscape little changed since the glacier left beyond a wonderful adornment of mixed forest and wetland.