Friday, August 26, 2016

Trustees of the Reservations

Reservation bagging – I’ve joined the “Hike 125” challenge by the Trustees of Reservations.  The goal is to hike (or in my case run) 125 miles at Trustees locations to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the organization.  I’ve mostly been going to Ward Reservation and Weir hill since they are both nearby.  I figured it would be interesting to seek out other reservations and see how many I can visit during the challenge. 
Eric and I were meeting up to head down to NJ/DE for the two remaining Eastern State high points that Eric has not visited, so I took the morning to visit some reservations and get multiple morning runs in.  I hit the road at 7am and arrived in
Phillipston an hour later.  Elliott Laurel was a nice tiny property where I got in a mile of running in some nice open woods and mowed fields.

 30 minutes later I parked in Petersham center and ran from the common to the North Common Meadow, getting another mile in on the mowed scenic meadow. 

  A short drive later and I arrived at the Swift River Reservation.  I put in 2 miles at the Slab City Tract which was a nicely maintained area with a couple of cool cellar holes. I ran another 3 miles in the Brooks Woodland Preserve which had a good mix of dirt roads and single-track.

I had a good one hour break after that arriving at Rock House reservation in West Brookfield about 10:20am.  I did a 3 mile run which covered pretty much all of the trails in this reservation.  There were a lot of boulders and ledges and even a “summit” of sorts.  The scenic vista was overgrown but the Rock House and Carter Pond were picturesque.

 I had another hour break, arriving in Hadley at noon for a 2 mile run around Mt Warner.  This was probably the nicest trail I saw over this day.  It was very well marked and smooth, not a rock or root to be found.  The day was turning very warm by now but wasn’t too bad in the woods. 
I made a quick stop at the Dinosaur Footprints reservation in Holyoke.  The parking lot was more of a pull-out on Route 5 and it only had space for 5 cars.  Fortunately 1pm on a Thursday wasn’t a popular time.  It wasn’t even a tenth of a mile from the lot to the footprints.  Well worth the stop to see the four prints caught in stone 65 million years ago! 
After that I headed up the road just a bit to the Mass DCR on Mt Tom and put in 3 miles to visit Little Tom Mountain.  It was really warm now (well into the 90’s) and I was feeling the heat and the accumulation of 15 miles over 5 hours.
I met up with Eric and Murdoch (Eric’s Westy dog) and we drove a couple of hours to Highland NY.  My final run of the day was a nice easy 3 mile run with them on the Hudson Valley Rail trail.  This was a really nice paved trail in Highland that now continues over the Hudson River on the “Walkway over the Hudson”. 


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