Easy Walks in Familiar Places–Franklin Sculpture Park, and High Street Trail, Bellingham

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A gaggle of ducklings skitter about in the water at Franklin’s sculpture park

What a pleasure to introduce friends to lovely local spots around the corner from where I live. Despite having visited both spots many times in the past, surprises awaited at both locations.

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Barbara taking in one of the whimsical sculptures at the park

Barbara used to live in this area and was back for a visit. We had lunch then headed to the Sculpture park only to discover almost no parking places open. We thought this was odd, since no crowds filled the walkways of the sculpture park. Turns out the police department was hosting a program, and the sculpture park parking turned into overflow parking for their program.

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A nearly empty pond, which was filled in the past with a tangle of dead trees, great for some wildlife

Locating the last spaces available, Barbara and I headed out for an easy walk after a very big lunch, and took in the sights. The first thing I noticed was that the tangle of trees that has filled the pond area of the park was nearly all gone.

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the pond on the left at an earlier time, filled with shrubs and dead trees

The walls of the former town swimming area were much more apparent with the trees gone.

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Mama duck and her ducklings in the now-opened pond

The mother duck with her 10+ ducklings were also much easier to spot as we circled the waterway.

What we didn’t see were the green herons, which were a dependable sight when the tangle of dead trees filled the interior of the former pool. We wondered if the trees were removed, if they broke off in winter storms and washed downstream, or something else happened. We’ll have to check in with friends who live nearby to see if they can help solve this mystery of the missing trees.

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Introducing Nancy to the hidden Charles at the HIgh street trail

I met yet another friend at the High Street athletic fields in Bellingham, and headed to the back of the field where the trailhead to my favorite walk in town begins. An easy half-mile to the Charles River, then back again made this more of a saunter than a hike, but the paths are wide, and made it easy for us to chat together as we walked.

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Sean’s bridge was waiting for us, amidst a carpet of canada mayflowers that covered the forest floor

I was grateful, yet again, for eagle Scout Sean Boddy, who build the bridge over the intermittent stream. DSC07722On this visit, the bridge was much appreciated, since the water was several inches deep.

The trail markings were also a great help.

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Such a magical spot along the Upper Charles River

This path heads straight to the river, unless you are lured into following one of the many side trails created by local dirt bike riders.

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A busy beaver has been working in the Upper Charles River recently

A local beaver had been busy and left fresh wood chips beneath a tree next to the river. my guess is that the tree will be down by the next time we visit.

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Budding oak leaves

The signs of spring were everywhere along the trail. Small budding oak and maple leaves were close at hand, allowing us an up close view of the tiny leaves getting started as they head into summer.

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Low bush blueberries have set flowers

Next to the intermittent stream we spotted ferns unfurling.

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Ferns unfurling along the stream

And canada mayflower has already carpeted the ground underneath the trees throughout the woodland as we walked.

No matter how often I revisit these familiar places, there seems to always be something new to see. Sometimes it is simply because of the change of seasons, other times local wildlife has had it’s way on the landscape, and other times storms, or other forces have left their mark. I am reminded, once again, that change is a constant. And so we walk, with hearts, and hands, and eyes open, ready to take in what is there.

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Canada geese and mallard posed for us next to the sculpture park

Marjorie

Arizona M cropped picMarjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie 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

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Paddles-River-Watershed/dp/1985377012

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