Walking on thin ice-winter trails


Large beech tree at Thayer House Medway still holds on to a very few leaves as winter sets in

We’ve had some snow recently, then deep, deep cold that has turned the soft fluffy white stuff into the kind of surface that prompts one to think of ice skates. Turns out this has been a week I’ve been out on the trails quite a bit, so I’ve had the chance to sample many types of ice on the trails in the area. I hear we’re in for more snow, and possible rain, which will alter the landscape yet again so it’s anybody’s guess what next week will bring!


Mostly clear trail allowed for some easy walking…

We ventured out this morning along a wooded path in Medway. This broad, open trail connects Choate Park in Medway with Medway High School, and on northward, eventually planned to connect with the Upper Charles Trail in Holliston. For today, it was a walk taken at a slow pace, with a lot of time spent searching for bare spots amongst the icy patches.

Some sections of the trail had crusty snow–yup, easy walking there. Other portions of the trail were bare earth, again, just fine for safe footing. But there had been a lot of foot traffic here. Shady portions of the wooded trail were sheet ice. We picked our way along carefully. That is, until we reached a stream.


Stream flowing through the woods

The stream had a solid, broad bridge over the water, normally a welcome sight. But  you know those signs on highways that warn, “Bridge Freezes before roadway”? Yeah, that was what we were looking at.


Ice-covered bridge offers safe passage across the stream unless…

My walking partner took one look at the ice-covered bridge with water flowing underneath it, and announced, “This is where we turn around.” I might have risked it, but realized it was sound advice for me as well.

Perhaps the rain that’s been forecast will melt the ice on this bridge. Then again, there is a lot of winter ahead of us. Winter walking is a challenge, but there are sure rewards to getting out, regardless. Happy trails, and watch your step!

Marjorie Turner Hollman

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.

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