My collaboration with ABMI Cable 8 to bring viewers out on the trail with me has presented challenges. The biggest has been that winter is coming, and cameras do not do well in the cold. So we’ve been working to squeeze in our last few episodes before we have to take a break for cold weather. This episode we ventured to Choate Park, in Medway, MA. You can watch the show here.
Choate Park is a small town-owned park, with a swimming area, playground, and pavilion. The entire area has been recently re-landscaped, the playground greatly improved, and the walking path around Choate Pond redone. Choate Pond is actually a dammed portion of Chicken Brook, which flows into the pond from the north, and leaves the pond in a dramatic waterfall cascade, before heading underneath nearby Rt. 109, through the nearby mill complex across the street, before emptying into the Charles River.
Steve Sherlock, of Franklin Matters, joined us again for this walk, his first visit to Choate Park. On our visit, we spotted several mallards in the pond, as well as a few migrating hooded mergansers. The mergansers are shy, keeping away from people whenever they can. They will stay in the area for a few more weeks, then head farther south to stay near open water.
After strolling alongside the pond, and taking a look at where Chicken Brook feeds into the pond, we headed over to the High School Trail, a wide, handicapped friendly crushed stone dust walking path through woodland. As we walked we took in views of the multiple stone walls along the way, a vivid reminder that this area was once cultivated farmland. When the farmland was abandoned, trees grew up, and now the walls are all that’s left to remind us of those who lived here before, working hard to cultivate the difficult stony soil in the area.
The trail passes quite close to the backyards of several homes, and while we were filming we encountered yard crews operating very loud leaf blowing machines. We stopping taping until we could get past the machines. Taping outdoors presents many challenges. Leaf blowers were only the latest of noisy outdoor happenings we stumbled upon in our efforts to document the joys of Easy Walks!
The trail was clear, with no ice, since evidence of the ice storm that had happened the week before melted in the face of warm sunny days after the storm. We got as far as Medway High School, grabbed some footage of the meadow at Adams, Street, and talked about, but did not visit the additional trails that are being constructed to link open space north of the high school, all the way up to Wenakeening Woods in Holliston. Trails from Wenakeening will some day carry hikers onto the Upper Charles Trail in Holliston.
While those of us looking for Easy Walks may not take advantage of these longer, more connected trails, it is exciting to see trails being linked, offering better options for walking off road in the area. The Medway
Trails Club has offered many volunteer hours in this effort, and much of the funding has come Community Preservation funds, with trail work coordinated by the Medway Open Space Committee.
Trails like this are an investment in our community’s future. Visiting, and enjoying these trails helps justify the investment made. The trails remain open in the winter. Watch your step, and dress wisely as colder weather approaches. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy 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: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.
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.