Thursday, November 7, 2013

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.

This is a fairly long hike that begins at High Street along the Medfield and Walpole border where power lines cross. A court ruling that released the utility companies from liability for certain categories of activity gave utilities incentive to allow right of way access for the trail. 

This has been a very valuable basis for piecing continuity together to thread through the fragmentation of settlement patterns and invoke some sense of pre-colonial potential.

The actual wetland is a coy thing beyond a screen of pines, for the most part, with occasional touches and glimpses. 

And the far shore carries the bed of a CSX freight line that sometimes accompanies the hike with the stutter whir of its distant engines.

The eastern run of the leg has several adjoining mini peninsulas to jut into the wetland including one that has been tricked out as a get away.

It is also divided into two parts by a road to the Water Department pumping stations.

The section nearest Robbins Road generally gets more use than the rest. 

And a howitzer greets you when Robbins Road meets you. From there, it is a pleasant foray through downtown Walpole before heading to Sharon.