Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday in My City - Mass Central Rail Trail

Well, HELLO THERE! Remember me?

I haven't been around too much lately - you know, that thing called life has been pretty demanding. I guess that's a good thing!

Like most of the United States, it's been unbearably hot and humid here in New England. Really messed up my plans! By the time I was ready to fit strawberry picking in my schedule, the strawberries (which came about 2 to 3 weeks early in these parts) were gone. Blueberry season is usually starting full force in mid-July...nope, those beautiful blue babies were ripe and ready two weeks ago, although they will be around into July, thankfully. They are my favorite so it would be a shame to miss them completely!

A brief, but relieving rain storm came through these parts yesterday afternoon, so I figured today would be a good day to get out and maybe go for a little walk or hike, and of course, document it for Sunday in My City. If you're not familiar, Unknown Mami started this great idea of getting out and showing folks what's going on in your neck of the woods this Sunday! She's visiting Golden Gate Park today, and has some beautiful shots of a heron on her blog!

Anyway, here's what went down in my "city" today....

My husband worked 38 hours straight (yes, 38) so he was napping. I decided it would be best to get my 5 year old (as of last Saturday - Happy Birthday, Gracie!!) out of the house. I figured that rain and the slightly cooler weather that followed would make hiking a good choice. So we headed out to the Central Mass Rail Trail, which runs right through my town.

Rail Trails have been popping up all over the place, and they are wonderful! Around here, old railroad lines have been pulled up and converted into walking/hiking/biking trails, hence the name "Rail Trail". Eventually, you'll be able to walk right across Massachusetts, from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, but they're still working on a few gaps. Lucky for us, we have several well-established trails here in central Massachusetts. The one we visited today runs from Sterling to Oakham, through some of the prettiest woodlands I've seen.

There are many places you can jump onto the trail - we chose one not too far away, and pulled into the tiny parking lot. Our first site was this...
A quaint, charming little garden! It really was a nice surprise.

We even got our first glimpse of wildlife....

Then we headed down the trail. We were near the Quinapoxet River, which is part of the Wachusett Watershed...we visited Wachusett Reservoir a while back. Well, the Quinapoxet River leads to Wachusett Reservoir, which is the second larger reservoir in Massachusetts, and supplies drinking water to many communities between Worcester and Boston. For that reason, motorized vehicles are not allowed, and the trails are well-maintained and patrolled. In different areas, you may be limited as to what you can and cannot do. These signs are all over the place...

Where we were today, there were no dogs, no horseback riding, no motorized vehicles, no camping...basically you can walk, bike, fish, picnic (no fires, of course), canoe and in the winter, cross country ski.

At first the trail was comfortable, cool and shady, and a little breeze in the air.

I'm convinced my daughter is going to be something of a naturalist, because all she talked about was all the wild animals she wanted to see. This was one of them...

We walked along and came to a river - I;m not sure if it was actually the Quinapoxet, as I think that was on the other side of the road we drove in on, but down a steep hill was a pretty rambling river. Nearby, here and there, are stone benches you can take a break on.

"Mommy, look! Green stuff! What's that called again?"

Moss. I have a thing for moss, the cool feel of it, the earthy scent of it. I guess she inherited that from me, because she is fascinated by moss!

The main trail is wide enough to support a car, however there are hundred of footpaths and bike trails that run off the main trail.

We explored a few but never did find a way to get down to the river's edge.

We DID find some wild blueberries! A few were ripe, but I'm not sure you're allowed to pick berries here. I'll check on that for next time, because wild blueberries are amazing.

Here's another bike path than wandered off into the woods.
Back on the main trail, the sun started beating down on us and it was MUGGY! Thankfully, regular patches of shade sheltered us from the heat.

Eventually we came upon a bridge. We had seen this from above and finally found our way to it.

Here's the river from one side of the bridge.

All in all, we were out for about an hour and a half, yet we were never more than several miles from our house, and probably not more than a mile from the main road. Aside from insects, the only wildlife we saw were several birds and 762 chipmunks. Perhaps next time we'll make it to the river to see some frogs, turtles and fish!

Well, hope you enjoyed our little hike! What's going on in your neck of the woods today?


angeltastic said...

I just LOVE the pics!! Memories of the Skeeto(sp?) came flodding back. GOOD TIMES!!

angeltastic said...

I just LOVE the pics!! Memories of the Skeeto(sp?) came flodding back. GOOD TIMES!!

May said...

It's such a pity that all the strawberries were gone!! Isn't it nice when your kids are born naturalists??

5thsister said...

Ah, but when you do post it is always a little bit of lovely! I hadn't heard of "rail trails" and will now be on the look out for them. This is right up our alley!

When did I become my Mom said...

I went to school in New England and I have a soft spot in my heart for it. I truly do miss Massachussetts.

Thanks for bringing back some memories. :-)

Mrs4444 said...

This is exactly why I love living in the woods; such serenity. I love it, too.

P.S. Your Blogger profile blog link leads to your old one.

Chicago Mom said...

They just extended a 'rail trail' here that now leads into the forest preserve that is down the street from us. Your pictures are beautiful!

BLOGitse said...

Thanks for a great walk! I live in the center of the city - it feels good to get out of here every now and then... :)
Sunny SIMC greetings from Casablanca!


Unknown Mami said...

What a fantastic outing! Amazing pictures.