Sunday, September 16, 2012

Independence Day

On July 4th we decided to go for a hike.  I'm not sure it was the best idea as it was very hot and muggy.  In fact there will be no photos of me in this post as I was apparently super grumpy throughout our journey.  You'll see a few pics of my favorite hiking buddy....

We decided to go to Ward Reservation in North Andover, MA.  It's part of the Trustees of the Reservations holdings.  We've walked these trails before but didn't remember where the trail head was.  The AllTrails app on our phone was pretty much useless as it put us in someone's yard.  After driving around a bit we did stumble upon it.  This did not set us up for a happy hike.

We snagged a trail map from the parking lot and set off on the lower trails.  It was extremely buggy and muggy down by the wetlands.  As much as I wanted to follow the path through the bog to Pine Hole Pond, I elected to head up towards the top of the hill.  
The Path to the Bog
The steps from the Bog up to the hill
The hill was bright and sunny.  There were fewer bugs bug unfortunately no breeze and few trees along the path to dim the sun.  The trail wasn't well marked but we weren't too concerned about being lost.  I attempted to take photos of butterflies and the baby snoozed as I carried him.  Ansel pulled Big Dude along the path as he struggled to figure out where the trail led.


We neared the top of Holt Hill and saw the fire tower.  As we walked through the high grasses the sun was terrible.  We did meet up with a few other hikers near here.

The summit is very neat.  The Solstice Stones are at the highest point of Essex County at 422 feet.  Yup, I bagged another peak for my list!  

You can see Boston and the Atlantic on a clear day.  Our day was a bit hazy but you can barely make out the outline of the city.  

Another cool thing about Ward Reservation is that it is part of the Bay Circuit Trail.  If you've not heard of this, it is a chain of  trails and greenways that are just outside Boston running through 34 towns.  These green spaces link the North Shore and South Shore and provide terrific areas to play outside without driving too far.  

There are tons of side trails and paths that could be followed in Ward Reservation.  We cut this short as it was too hot and quite frankly I was cranky.  It is not a stroller friendly place but it is a great one for small children and parents who don't mind baby carriers.  There a usually quite a few dogs as well.  I know we'll be back to visit on a less muggy and buggy day.