Sunday, November 10, 2013

Great Brook Farm State Park

The last weekend in September we went over to Carlisle to Great Brook Farm State Park. I went for a run with Ansel and then met up with Big and Lil' Dude at the ice cream stand. Big and Lil' checked out all the animals while waiting for us to get there. They checked out the bunnies, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Farms and petting zoos are just not for me. They trigger my allergies way too much.

Dairy Cows

 After some ice cream from the stand, we went for a "small" hike. I had already run 3+ miles with the dog. I knew that the trails were definitely muddy and some were washed out. So we avoided those areas. We hiked the south eastern section of the park near and around the Meadow Pond.   

Before we started out, we encountered was a huge group of big fluffy dogs in the parking lot. Some were husky-like and they all looked eager to be out. A gentleman told me that they were going to mush. I thought he was joking! We ran into them on the trail, attached to harnesses that were attached to mountain bikes. They were moving very quickly. Those dogs must have been well trained. I know that Ansel would more than likely just head off trail if I attached him to my bike.  

Ansel on a rock on the Keyes Loop Trail

Unfortunately, we made some poor choices and we ended up hiking much longer than we wanted. Is that really a bad thing?  This is a park I know really, really well. I've hiked, biked, skied, and jogged through it. So there was no worry about getting lost. The soggy areas really were a bit of a downer though.

Meadow Pond from the Pine Point Loop
Pine Point Loop
Cut corn fields
Pine Point Loop before a wash out
As we rounded the corner back to the grassy fields, we saw several people stop and pause. The trail was swamped pretty good. I already had damp feet and so did the dog so I attempted to find the shallowest path. Big Dude ended up removing his shoes and going through barefoot with Lil' Dude on his back. I guess the water was quite cold. From there we slogged back to the parking area.

During our wandering we had seen signs posted on trees for "something". The acronym was not one we recognized. As we walked back to the parking area we were passed by some runners who were wearing race bibs. We could hear cheering at the finish. We asked the crossing guard at the road what was going on. The run was for CORD USA, an agency that  helps  improve the economy and quality of life in less fortunate in America, India and Sri Lanka. There were people all ages running to raise money. It was a small run but I later learned that they raised about $10,000.           

View from the parking lot to the barn
Where: Pine Point Loop with other off shoots, Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, Massachusetts

Directions: From Rt. 128: Take exit 31B. Follow Route 225 West for 8 miles to the Carlisle center rotary, then turn right on Lowell St. (following the sign to Chelmsford.) Fern's Market is on the corner. The Park entrance is 2 miles ahead on the right. The Park Office (984 Lowell St) is just beyond the entrance also on the right. Make right hand turn onto North Road. Parking area is 1/2 mile down on left.
From the West (Route 2): Follow to Rt. 495 North. Use directions below.
From the North: Take 495 South to Exit 34. Follow Route 110 West for .6 miles to Chelmsford Center, continue through light onto Route 4 South for 1 mile, then take right fork onto Concord Road towards Carlisle. The Park office is 2 miles ahead on the left. The Park is just beyond the office , go left on North Rd, parking lot is 1/2 mile down on the left.
From the South: Take Rt. 495 North to exit 32 (Westford & To Route 225). At the bottom of the ramp go right. At the lights go straight through. At the T intersection go left (onto Rt. 225). Follow Rt. 225 till you reach the center of Carlisle (small rotary with monument in the middle). Go 3/4 of the way around the the rotary onto Lowell Street towards Chelmsford. The Entrance to the park is two miles down the road on the right. The Park Office (984 Lowell St) is just beyond the entrance also on the right. 
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