As the rest of the world prepares to spend summer hours in the sun, weeks at the beach or the mountains, I prepare to hunker down in the shade, or get outside early in the morning or at dusk. Thankfully, New England summer mornings typically offer cool starts to the day. For those of us who lack the ability to sweat, summer is not much fun. And so we adapt. Rather than drive any distance to get a walk in, we took two minutes to reach the trailhead around the corner from where we live in Bellingham. We parked at the SNETT at Lake Street, and headed out on the trail towards Franklin.
The first change I noticed (it had been awhile since we had visited this portion of the trail) was the sign suggesting this is not a through trail. Odd, since the trail continues into Franklin and on to the trailhead on Grove Street. Could the poster of this sign be referring to the Prospect Street barrier in the trail? We are waiting for state funding to construct a culvert under the road to allow for easy passage to the eastern trailhead on Grove Street in Franklin. For now, travelers must scale the slope up onto the road, then back down to the other side.
We also noticed lines of large rocks on either side of the trail. My husband, who works in the construction field, quickly identified these as erosion prevention barriers. OK, got it. The slope down to Lake Street offers the opportunity for heavy rains to erode the trail. Somehow I hadn’t noticed this detail other times I have walked here.
We are approaching full summer, and the poison ivy is very healthy in sections, climbing trees alongside the trail. Jewel weed, a natural antidote for poison ivy, also grows along the trail. And skunk cabbage is flourishing in the drainage ditches beside the trail.
We chose not to scale the slope onto Prospect Street this trip, so it was a simple out and back. I was able to enjoy stretching my legs, spent little time in the car, and got back home before the day heated up. May you find ways to enjoy the outdoors, whatever your challenge may be. 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.