Monthly Archives: October 2007

Hiketober: Week 2

We’re hiking forward, one week closer to November!

Day 8: Rained Out!
Totally disappointing!

Day 9: Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich, Ma
We didn’t have a trail map with us during this outing which made us a bit hesitant to make any quick turns. I made sure to look for landmarks as we went along and drew a mental map of our route in case we had to retrace our steps back to the car. Luckily we were able to make a couple of loops through the woods and over the streams that eventually wound back to the trail head. The woods were quiet and peaceful and a bit wet from the previous day’s rain.

Day 10: College Pond, Danvers, Ma
This trail was created by the Danvers Open Space Interns and was a quick little hike not far from home. Perfect for a day when the rain was threatening! The trail drops down quickly from the road into a mix of wetlands and forest. At the far end of the loop the trail branches off onto a long wooden pier that stretches out into College Pond. We didn’t see any wildlife today, but I can imagine that it would be a great spot for seeing herons, egrets, geese and other waterfowl.

Halibut Point

Day 11: Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, Ma
Today was another chilly, misty day on the north shore. That wouldn’t keep Catherine and I from the trail, though! We drove up 127 to Rockport and hiked around the quarry at Halibut Point. This state park has trails that wind down to the rocky coast, a great lookout point high above the water and small trails that lead to the quick dropoffs at the edge of the quarry. The park was pretty quiet, but we did see two men fishing and a little boy leading his grandma down the trail. There are some pics from the hike here.

Day 12: Goose Cove, Gloucester, Ma
Yesterday, while driving to Halibut Point, I noticed a sign on the side of the road for Goose Cove, part of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. Today, between a previous engagement and the afternoon rain, we went up to Goose Cove. The trail head has a parking area that could fit a couple cars and was the perfect location for a prehike, tailgate picnic. We had a little lunch and hit the trail. We were only on the trail a total of twenty minutes but it was a nice little hike. The trail was in the trees all the way to the end where it opened up to a nice view of Goose Cove. Having only seen it from the road this was a nice new perspective.

Halibut Point

Day 13: Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, Ma
Peter chose our hike for today: Breakheart Reservation. It is hard to believe that there is a huge reservation tucked behind frantic Route 1 in Saugus. We took the Ridge Trail which turned out to be a moderately difficult hike. The trail went up and over several hills, the tops of which were rocky, providing satisfying scrambling opportunities. There were some nice views of Boston and the surrounding areas and we enjoyed our 2+ hours on the trail. More pictures from Breakheart can be found here.

Day 14: Project!
Umm. We got busy working on a house project…I’ll make up the hike tomorrow, I promise!

Danvers Open House

This Thursday, the Town of Danvers hosted an “Open House.” They opened up the town’s departments to the public, and hosted tours and events to give the people of Danvers a peek inside their town’s inner workings. The Salem Trolley had been commissioned to take visitors from one place to another. There were also refreshments in each location. So Becky, Catherine and I drove downtown and took a ride around town to see what exactly our tax dollars are paying for! 🙂

Dad and Catherine at Town Hall
Dad and Catherine at Town Hall

Mom and Catherine at the Police Headquarters
Mom and Catherine at Police Headquarters

We first stopped at Town Hall to have some cheese and crackers, and to view some displays set up from various town offices. Next, we headed over to the Police Headquarters where we got a tour of the building and got to see the jail cells (thankfully empty!), as well as a presentation on various law enforcement gear and confiscated drug paraphernalia. The Police department was also giving out hot dogs, chips, and juice, and McGruff the Crime Dog made an appearance! After the P.D., we went to the Fire Department, where they had some fire trucks out for kids to explore, as well as a demonstration of the Jaws of Life on an old car out in front. The Fire Department also served up some pizza for everyone. Finally, we headed over to the Electric Department to see … well, not much, actually, since it’s basically just a garage and storage area for their equipment. But they did have a diorama of an electrical system set up, as well as some spooky Halloween displays and a lady dressed up as “Volta”, the compact fluorescent bulb. They were also giving kids rides up in a bucket truck.

All in all, it was a fun evening. I think Catherine enjoyed getting to see all of the different things, but I think she’d enjoy it much more if she was just a bit older. There were definitely a ton of elementary school aged kids there, and there were plenty of activities and presentations set up and geared towards them. Kudos for the Town of Danvers for opening up and putting on the evening!

You can see all of our pics from the Danvers Open House.

Dancing Queen

I’m not sure if we’ve mentioned it here before, but Catherine loves to dance. I think she really can’t help it. Whenever she hears a beat, be it a song on the radio, a commercial on tv, or just Dad tapping on the desk, she gets down. It’s not uncommon to see her head bopping, arms waving, feet stomping or even her whole body twirling around in circles.

So it was no surprise to see her cutting a rug last weekend at my cousins Matthew and Christine’s wedding.

Catherine and her Cousins
Dancing up a Storm

We all had a wonderful time at the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful and the nice weather made for a lovely drive through central MA from Worcester to the reception in Barre. The reception hall was gorgeous and Catherine had fun walking around the pond and the English garden.

Matt and Christine planned a wonderful party and our extended family had a great time together. We ate well, danced a ton enjoyed each other’s company while toasting the happy bride and groom. I hope that the guests of honor had as much fun as we did!

Birthday

On Saturday, I celebrated my twenty-ninth birthday.

Me and Catherine
Dad and Daughter

Becky made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. She also got me a gift subscription to GOOD Magazine, a magazine we had heard about in Heifer‘s World Ark magazine. I’m looking forward to reading it! Here are some more photos from breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed out for a hike to Agassiz Rock in Manchester. The park features a short trail which loops around to some awesome glacial rocks, Big and Little Agassiz. Little Aggasiz is balanced on its side on a much smaller rock. Very cool. Here are some more pictures from the hike. Our hike was, of course, part of Hiketober.

Dad and Daughter
It was a hit

My birthday and the hike were definitely a hit!

Hiketober

Y’know, I love hiking so much that I have declared this month Hiketober

The Goal: To go on a hike every day in the month of October.
The Method: Tie on sneakers, grab backpack and water and GO!
The Gear: Saucony Sneakers, Nalgene water bottle, Snugli Cross Country Baby Backpack
Intended Outcomes: Happiness, Good Health, Exploring local open spaces, Family Bonding

The First 7 Days:

Day 1: Monday: JC Phillips Reservation, Beverly, Ma Peter and I had explored these woods once before (while geocaching in 2001) and I thought it would be a nice place to start our hiking journey. The trail is not too long but it goes from a stroll along the edge of Wenham Lake to an uphill climb in the forest and back down again.

Day 2: Tuesday: Proctor Farm, Danvers, Ma Proctor Farm is a small tract of land just North of 128 on Conant Street. There are two or three trails through the property that appear to have been cleared as a Boy Scout Eagle Scout service project. The hiking was easy, and the scenery not all that exciting, but still a good place to get out and get some fresh air.

Day 3: Wednesday: Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, Ma Catherine and I were out visiting in Townsend. While Nonni was at an appointment in the afternoon we strapped on our sneakers and headed to Pearl Hill. I’ve spent a ton of time over the years hiking, skiing, sledding and goKarting at Pearl Hill but this was Catherine’s first visit. We followed quite a bit of the “Friend’s Trail” and then took an unnamed trail or two that doubled us back through the campground. Then we walked down the sledding hill road and back to the car. The hike took us a little over an hour and Catherine slept for the whole second half!

Day 4: Thursday: Endicott Park, Danvers, Ma Along with the Children’s Barn, the horses, the playground and the large open fields that are great for running in, Endicott Park boasts a “Fitness Trail”. You know, the kind of trail with stations along the way with signs that direct you to stretch, do sit ups or hop over logs…This trail was our hike for day four. Unfortunately, the hike took all of ten minutes, and most of the stations were in sad disrepair. Since ten minutes was a little short we continued walking around the perimeter of the park, past the community garden, around Glen Magna Farm and past the fishing pond. We finished up with a long chat with the horses and some play time at the playground before heading home.

Day 5: Friday: Manchester-Essex Wilderness Conservation Area, Manchester, Ma We found this location a bit by accident because I was a bit anxious while looking for our intended destination. I got antsy and jumped at the first pull off with a trail map! We took a nice long hike in the woods here north of 128 and east of Chewbacco Lake. We meandered the trails, changing course at each trail intersection. The property has a scenic wooden bridge/walkway that makes its way across a large swamp and we also came across some early 1900’s, stone town line markers. Part of our hike ran parallel to 128 and as we hiked along we watched the cars zip along! Again, Catherine conked out about 20 minutes in. These longer hikes seem to wear her out!

Under the Rock!
Under Little Agassiz Rock

Day 6: Saturday: Agassiz Rock, Manchester, Ma This is where we meant to go yesterday, so we made a second go at it with Peter along. It is also the first time we had a camera with us, as mine has been out of commission lately. The trail was a 1 mile loop and an easy hike. It is a satisfying hike up to Little Agassiz where the view opens up over the Manchester area and you can scramble around on the open rocks. Hiking down the back side of the hill brings you to Big Agassiz, who’s size (30 feet tall!) is somewhat obscured by the flora around it. We met another family with young’uns up at Little Agassiz but our two families had the trail to ourselves.

Day 7: Sunday: Gordon Woods, Wenham, Ma We missed out on Homecoming yesterday at our Alma Mater but we hit the trails there today instead! The trails seemed to be in much better condition than when I was an undergrad, and they were marked with colored blazes as well. We made a long loop up around Round Pond, past the ropes course and back down to Coy. The weather was deliciously fallish and the two mile or so hike was just what we wanted for a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Mount Olga or “why I love hiking”

At the Molly Stark State Park you can find very clean bathroom facilities and a trail to the top of Mount Olga. As we hit the trail Peter turned to me and asked, “why do you love hiking so much?”

When I started to answer I came up with one or two reasons, but as I kept thinking I came up with many more. So, why to I love hiking? hiking at Mt Olga

  • It’s outdoors. I love the fresh air and sun shining through the trees. I love the smell of fallen leaves.
  • There’s often a great view as a reward for all your work fighting gravity.
  • It is free- for the most part. Usually if there’s a park fee it goes back into maintaining the trails and facilities, so it is totally worth paying.
  • It is great exercise.
  • It is quiet.
  • There is very little commercialization surrounding it (minus EMS and REI and LLBean- but you can hike without spending one penny at any of those)
  • It is family friendly. And I have great memories of hiking with my family when I was a kid.

Well, the list could go on and on. Hiking just makes me happy.

And I was happy last Sunday when we stopped into the Molly Stark campground and hiked to the top of Mount Olga.

Becca’s Wedding

Several months ago, my college friend Becca asked me if I’d play cello for her wedding. I gladly agreed, even though the last time I had played for a crowd was at Jeremy and Angela‘s wedding several years earlier. It gave me the opportunity to dig out the cello, bring my skills back up to snuff, and reacquaint myself with the joys of playing music.


Tools of the trade

Last weekend we traveled up to Bennington, Vermont to attend her wedding. We left early on Friday, drove up through central Mass and southern Vermont, and arrived to check in at the Knotty Pine Motel. The Knotty Pine was small and comfortable, and even had a nice play area for Catherine to take advantage of. Friday evening was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, where we got a lesson in English Country Dance (to be featured at the wedding reception). We made some new friends at dinner, and had a chance to catch up with our friend Amanda who was one of the bridesmaids.

Catherine and Tom
Catherine and her new friend Tom

On Saturday, we did some exploring of the Bennington area, including the Bennington Battle Monument. Did you know that the Bennington Battle Monument is the tallest structure in Vermont, and the tallest War Memorial in the world?


Bennington Battle Monument

Becca’s wedding was in the afternoon. The prelude and processionals, which I played with Becca’s friend Lindsey on piano, went extremely well. The ceremony itself was beautiful – Becca sang a solo for Eric during the ceremony, and they recessed to “Sweet Caroline”, a tribute to their Red Sox fanaticism.

Becca and Eric
Becca and Eric Fiveland

At the reception, we did more English Country Dancing, talked with our friends Kate and Dave, and enjoyed some great food. We danced the night away and headed back to the Knotty Pine for some rest.

We had a great weekend up in Vermont. It’s a truly lovely place with some very friendly people. We wish Becca and Eric well in their new life together in upstate New York!

You can see all of the photos from our weekend here.