This year it seems we only hiked during holiday weekends. Originally we had thought we would go camping over Independence Day but we decided there was much to be done around the house. Big Dude was easily convinced to go for a short walk in the woods nearby. There are several conservation areas local to us but we had not been to this one in about two years.
Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest is spread out over three towns in Massachusetts. I learned about it when I worked in a residential treatment facility for boys that had an outdoor based component. It contains about 1,140 acres of woods and wetlands. I've often come across paintball tournaments, mountain bikers, and cross country skiers while hiking the woods. It may have been a Native American village prior to the arrival of the colonists and there are often rumors and ghost stories told about certain areas of the woods.
Ghosts or not we went to the trail head on Trotting Park Road in Lowell. There are several entrances to the forest but I've always found this one the easiest to access.
|Trail head on Trotting Park Road|
|Beyond the Gate|
|L2 on the Healthy Heart Trail|
Fortunately as Lil' Dude wanted to walk, I was able to hand off our rambunctious pup to the Big Dude. Lil' was much easier to keep in check.
There were a few off shoots from the trail so we decided to continue hugging the shoreline. This meant that we missed the turn to follow the Healthy Heart Trail. However, it did bring us to this lovely spot.
|Creative Use of Bottle Caps|
We hung out there for a while, making certain that Ansel and Lil' did not get cut up on the glass. We enjoyed our snacks and some water. The breeze certainly was picking up, so once snack was gone and I took a few photos we moved on.
We followed the trail up to D1. There were some huge rocks along the trail. I definitely could not get a picture to show the enormity of them. Lil' Dude did some climbing and then we wandered along.
While wandering up to D1, Big Dude and I noticed that many of the trees had what appeared to be scorch marks on their trunks. We speculated about fires but thought we might have heard if there was a forest fire near us. Granted, it has been a few years since my last visit to this part of the woods. I hope the fire didn't start because of a forest party.
By the time we reached D1, Lil' Dude was tired and definitely wanted to be carried/not carried/carried/not carried. There was quite a bit of crying and grumping. Big Dude popped him in the carrier and we set back down Carney Road towards the junction with the Healthy Heart Trail.
We found the junction and followed the Healthy Heart Trail through the woods back towards the parking lot. It was confusing because there were many turn offs that just weren't labeled well. Somehow we actually managed to choose the right paths.
Along the way we found a cluster of boulders that were larger than any of the ones we found earlier. I love finding glacial erratics in the woods. They looked like lots of fun to play on but the tired Lil' Dude needed to get back to the car.
We made it back to the parking lot and got Ansel and Lil' Dude into the car. There were a few more cars in the lot than when we showed up. We had parked in front of a stone that was spray painted with the word Love on it. So I climbed up and took a baby bump shot. It's not often there is a picture of me on the blog as I'm behind the camera most of the time.
I know I have displayed a lot of graffiti and trashing of the woods, but this is indeed a nice little forest with many walking trails. I've traveled through it several times over the years. The fact that it is so close to home is terrific for me.
|Fired damage or something else?|
|Spruce Swamp from Carney Road|
Where: Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State Forest,
On the web: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-north/lowell-dracut-tyngsboro-state-forest.html