Catherine used to live quite nearby and was a willing walking buddy as I researched trails to include in the several Easy Walks books I’ve published. But she moved closer to family, and we hadn’t had a chance to see each other. Yesterday we finally made a date to meet, have lunch together, and explore a nearby trail, Mt. Ward,
close to her house in Marlborough. Within the Marlborough-Sudbury State Forest, the “Mount” reaches 410 feet in height, not a real mountain by any standard, but it certainly offered a workout for our legs!
I have been feeling the climb we did just last weekend to the top of Mt. Everett in the town of Mount Washington, MA.
The loop trail at Mt. Ward is not strenuous, and the climb is mostly gradual, but it is still a climb.
We parked at the end of Langelier Lane in Marlboro, and entered the property along a former railroad bed.
The access from either direction, the neighborhood we parked in, or Evergreen Cemetery, offers a clear, easy path toward Mt. Ward. We took the less traveled path, but thankfully trail signs are along the way regardless of where you start.
The back side of Mt. Ward is less traveled.
Once we got to the top of the climb to the large maple tree, we followed a broad, open trail which gently sloped back toward the gas line access path.
It seems that many visitors simply climb the easy way up, take a look at the maple tree then head back down.
We, however, wanted to do the entire loop.
If you decide to do the same, be aware that the blazes on the back side, while present, are challenging at times to locate. The trail on the back side is much steeper and has many more roots and rocks. As we poked our way along the back side of the trial, Catherine finally said, “I don’t think this counts as an easy walk.” I would be inclined to agree with her!
Once we reached the top, the rest of the trail was clearly an easy walk. We strolled back down, reflecting on our shared lunch at Stephen Anthony’s in Marlboro, Rt. 20. The food was tasty, but the best part of the experience was the company, sitting in a “duck booth” perched over Hager Pond. I wasn’t sure if the window seats overlooking the pond are called duck booths or if Catherine simply calls them that. Regardless, it was great fun watching ducks, swans, seagulls, and fishermen float by as we enjoyed our lunch and caught up with each other’s lives.
While we set out on a sunny day with a few clouds in the sky, by the time I headed home dark storm clouds threatened, and I drove home through some heavy rains. We managed to stay dry for our walk, but we both found ticks on us afterwards. This was another reminder to remain vigilant–ticks are out there, and they are looking to catch a ride. Toss hiking clothes in the dryer after your walk and the ticks stand no chance–the dryer heat shrivels them right up within 20 minutes. And don’t forget to do tick checks. Don’t avoid the outside because of these safety concerns, but be smart and careful. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.