Hiking with friends

On the SNETT in Douglas, MA with group walk sponsored by the Douglas Library and Sr. Center

On the SNETT in Douglas, MA with group walk sponsored by the Douglas Library and Sr. Center

I make it a practice to always head out on the trail in the company of others. Most often with just one other person, which makes for nice conversation as we explore a trail, and occasionally with groups as well. I’ve had a series of injuries this spring and summer and I’d gotten out of the habit of planning these outings, but the cooler weather is coming and people are checking in to see if I’m up to walking. Thankfully, my latest shoulder injury causes me no pain while walking. In fact, my walking sticks seem to be great therapy as my shoulder heals.

On Delcarte's floating bridge with Pam

On Delcarte’s floating bridge with Pam

I headed out to Delcarte Conservation area in Franklin last week with Pam, and we found the trail around the main pond to be pretty rooty. I don’t now why I hadn’t really noticed this before, but perhaps my absence has made me more aware of trail conditions.

Early morning reflections at Delcarte Conservation area

Early morning reflections at Delcarte Conservation area

Regardless, it felt good to enjoy a simple loop trail around the pond, crossing the floating bridge and watching the swans in the second pond.

Swans at Delcarte, including a juvenile

Swans at Delcarte, including a juvenile

Another day I met up with Vickie,

Admiring the wildflowers at Franklin's Sculpture park

Admiring the wildflowers at Franklin’s Sculpture park

and we headed back to Franklin, this time to the sculpture park next to the police station on Panther Way. This handicapped-accessible trail is quite small, but we ended up staying an hour and looped many times around the pond that sits in the middle of the park.

Turns out this is a great spot to see wildlife of many kinds–juvenile green herons have returned, more mature and surprisingly active. We were there around 9 in the morning, late for birds to be out feeding, but we got the chance to watch a green heron hunt, and succeed in catching small frog.

Green heron hunting frogs--soon after he was successful

Green heron hunting frogs–soon after he was successful

Not so great for the frog, but it was still pretty cool to watch the heron grasp the frog and shake those little froggy legs, then swallow it whole.

A kingfisher soared back and forth through the area as we walked, and a great blue heron soared high over head as well.

One of the mallards that were hanging out at the sculpture park during our visit

One of the mallards that were hanging out at the sculpture park during our visit

Mallards climbed up onto the walkway then flew back into the feeder stream that flows into the pond area. It was fun showing Vickie the cement walls of what was the town swimming pool, until it was closed in the 1970s.

On the trail with Sue

On the trail with Sue

I headed out again today with Sue, who wanted to visit the trails along the Blackstone River in Uxbridge. We met at the Tri-River Health Center parking area off Hartford Avenue, then walked across the street to tromp on the lower trail headed north on the west bank of the river, the Goat Hill area.

The west bank of the Blackstone River--water is very low

The west bank of the Blackstone River–water is very low

 

Oaks still recovering from gypsy moth infestation

Oaks still recovering from gypsy moth infestation

We noticed as we walked how little shade there was on substantial portions of the trail.

Gypsy moth egg cases waiting for spring...

Gypsy moth egg cases waiting for spring…

And then we spied the gypsy moth egg cases–many trees had leafed out, but their shade was pretty sparse. We are praying for a wet spring, which would help dampen the depredations of next year’s crop of gypsy moths. Sue walks much farther than I can, but we enjoyed the time we had together, then I sent her on her way.

Bluebird hanging out on the Riverbend Farm sign

Bluebird hanging out on the Riverbend Farm sign

After I left Sue I stopped off at the ranger Station at Riverbend farm–they are open year round and have bathrooms! As I came back to my car I was treated with a glimpse of a bluebird, who posed on the Riverbend farm sign for me. Not the best view of his colorful blue plumage, but a treat, nonetheless.

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! New England Regional Chair for the Association of Personal Historians, she is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

http://tinyurl.com/MTH-More-easy-walks

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