I have been working to include as many handicapped accessible, and handicapped friendly outdoor locations as I can manage for my new “Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are” cable TV series with ABMI Cable 8. It is a little challenging to coordinate schedules with both my cameraman, Tyler, and friends who can make the time to join me for a one-two hour jaunt on a local trail. So far the weather has stayed mild, and we have gotten in some fun trips to nearby trails, checking out interesting sights along the way, and pondering the history of the area we visit. Here’s our walk at Louisa Lake.
The Upper Charles Trail in Milford is a total of about six and a half paved miles of completed, handicapped rail trail, with multiple access points throughout Milford where walkers, bicyclists, skate boarders, in line skaters, dog walkers, and families with children all follow the path through wetlands, alongside Louisa Lake, near abandoned granite quarries, and remnants of old train stations.
Near the top of Louisa Lake the stream that becomes the mighty Charles River flows over a dam and floods the area that is Louisa Lake. After flowing through nearby Bellingham, Medway, Millis, Medfield and Dover, the stream slowly becomes a wider river. At Louisa Lake the stream is quite small, mostly floodplain filled with cat tails that are nourished by the river as it leaves Echo Lake in Hopkinton.
We spotted migrating birds dabbling about in Louisa Lake, and I thought I heard a kingfisher, but it was on the far side of the lake, and no one else heard it. Here’s what kingfishers sound like, in case you think you might have come across them.
We visited the trail on the day before Thanksgiving, which may have kept the crowds down. Thanks to my old friend Skip Farwell of Milford, who had the day off and joined us. Skip knows a lot about birds, so it was fun having him along on the walk to talk birds and other plants we spotted along the way.
The sky was darkly overcast, which may have kept people away as well, but the rain held off till we got home. Since the beginning of the pandemic rail trails have been full of people seeking relief from the stress of staying home, having “normal” activities curtailed or cancelled. We saw other visitors, for sure, but everyone gave us space, and we worked to walk single file when we encountered others along the trail.
Milford was the site of active quarries in the 1800s, and remnants of that work can be found along the trail north of Louisa Lake. Look for drill marks on the rocks beside the trail.
Thanks to the folks at ABMI Cable8 for supporting this effort to invite others to find Easy Walks Wherever You Are. 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.