Tag Archives: avoid crowds on trails

Gate 22, West Boyleston, snow shoeing

Overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir from Gate 22

While we typically have a destination in mind, especially after recent snow, when we spotted a plowed parking area and trail kiosk, we quickly turned around to go back and investigate. While numbers for contracting Covid have been decreasing, we are still doing what we can to #avoidcrowds, so seeing just a few cars in the lot, we decided this was worth exploring. Gate 22, a fire road providing access to the Wachusett Reservoir in West Boylston, looked like a good place to explore.

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Hopedale Parklands in winter, with Cable 8 TV

View of Hopedale Pond from along the carriage road

In a time when we have felt so closed in by the pandemic, it has been a blessing that, at least near where I live, the trails have been for the most part ice free. We have enjoyed several very Easy Walks recently, one of which was to return to Hopedale Parklands with Tyler, our ace camera guy from ABMI Cable 8, and my hiking friend Linda. Watch the 16 minute video of our walk here.

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Avoiding crowds in Westport and Dartmouth,MA

Phragmites in the marshland next to Ocean View Farm reservation, Dartmouth

We headed down near the shore to avoid ice on trails, and also because we knew of several places we wanted to check out that we had missed the last time we were in the area. Turns out there are even more open space trails to explore than we realized, which kept us busy exploring for several hours on a weekend morning. Our first stop was at a very small spot that offered views of the Westport River, the Mill Pond Conservation Area part of the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the Trustees of Reservation. The nicely laid out trail brings visitors through a young orchard quite near the street, offering the feel of walking through a local garden.

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Whitney Conservation Area, Upton, MA

The view, starting off for a visit at the Whitney Conservation area in Upton

In our efforts to #avoidcrowds, we opted to stay close to home and head to a town-owned conservation property without an obvious pond or river. We have noted that trails with pond views, or next to waterways have tended to draw extraordinary crowds in these #Covidtimes. While there is no navigable waterway on the Whitney property, there is plenty of water that flows through this area.

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Handy Pond, Lincoln, RI winter walk

Handy Pond, Lincoln, RI

We walked alongside the Blackstone River the day prior to this walk and got views of the river at near flood level, more what we would expect in spring than in late December. But we also encountered more visitors than we wished. Perhaps for this outing a town-owned property with limited parking might offer the solitude we craved? Handy Pond, (actually Rochambeau Pond, according to a reliable source) along Old River Road in Lincoln, RI was our pick, a first visit to what turned out to be an extended trail network through woodland, with views of the pond, as well as several stream crossings.

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The Cape in late fall

River headed to the sea at Long Pasture, Audubon, in Barnstable

Lucky for our family, we have practiced #avoidingcrowds for years, and yet even we are struggling this year to figure out where to go where lots of others are not. We avoid visiting Cape Cod in warmer months specifically because of how busy the area is. But late fall, early December on the Cape seemed like a good bet for meeting up with fewer people as we continue to strive to stay healthy in the midst of the pandemic.

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Hopkinton MA Duck Pond Trail

Streamway channeled through the woods

It was another short day, with things to do before we headed outdoors. Where to go nearby before the sun went down? A Hopkinton (MA) trails club member had told me about a trail that was an Easy Walk. I had the sense few others would be there, since no sign is posted at the road indicating the presence of a trail. Turns out, my guess was right.

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Avoid crowds by heading to the Schoodic Peninsula

Along the Acadia National Park road on the Schoodic Peninsula–Cadillac Mountain in the distance

We try to visit Acadia National Park every spring and fall in “normal” times, but this year has been anything but normal. Our spring visit fell by the wayside, like most everyone’s plans. This fall, we saw an opportunity, found a place (Windward Cottages) where we had stayed before, which had a full kitchen, firm! beds, and had been unoccupied for three days prior to our arrival. For a time during this pandemic Massachusetts residents were welcome in Maine, so we packed food for the week, planned to keep very much to ourselves, and headed to Mt. Desert Island, Maine.

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Biking in November-West and East Greenwich, RI

A perfect, late fall day to be outdoors (and no, the picture is not upside down–mirror reflection of the sky from a roadside stream)

The day promised to be warm enough for us to get our adaptive tandem bicycle back out and head out for some road biking. Trails are once again subject to overcrowding, so rather than risk getting too close to others, we chose to explore more rural roads in West Greenwich, RI.

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Avoiding crowds–Blackall Preserve Cumberland, RI

Pond on the property of Blackall Family preserve

We had driven past the trail kiosk for the Blackall Family Preserve in Cumberland, RI a number of times, but had no real idea if we would find any Easy Walks in this area. Many trails in Cumberland are quite rocky. This one might have been too. But “Be willing to explore,” is a strategy for finding Easy Walks I urge my readers to adopt. Following on this is, “Have a plan B.”

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