Print Story Today, the Middlesex Fells
Diary
By toxicfur (Wed May 07, 2008 at 03:57:37 PM EST) (all tags)
Life has pretty much sucked recently. The estate lawyer we hired, a family friend who's known me since I was born, has done nothing since we hired her. As a result, I have one brother who became very angry at me, another brother who's tried like hell to get something to happen with the estate, and me, getting more and more angry at the universe.

On top of the family stuff, there's work, one deadline after another since I got back from North Carolina in February. Finally, those deadlines are over, and I have permission to take some time for myself.

So, following the lead of Bob "Trailblazer" Abooey, I gathered up the dogs and went to the Fells.



I got this idea on Monday, when I took the dogs to the Sheepfold area of the Middlesex Fells, only a few miles from my house. It's kind of an unofficial dog park, and the dogs dig getting to run around off-leash and sniff things and be dogs. We hiked up one of the trails off the main field area, around a reservoir (marked "Keep Out," what with it being public drinking water). There's a brook off the reservoir, though, and the dogs played in the legal water for a while. I hadn't packed any water for myself, and I was wearing running shoes, so we only walked a couple of miles through the woods.

So yesterday, I decided that today I would actually get my shit together and go on a real hike. The Reservoir Trail is 5.2 miles (and listed as "a moderate to difficult hike" for reasons I can't quite figure out). Last night, I went to REI and got Rocky a backpack, so he could carry his own water in, and his poop out. I made a list of what I needed, and dug my daypack (which smells vaguely and disturbingly of stale cat piss) out of my closet.

We left about 10:30 this morning, and I locked my iPod in the car. It was just us and nature. Rocky looked rather dashing in his backpack:

Rusti is apparently too small for a backpack, at least according to the sizes on the ones at REI, but she was also pretty cute.

The day was absolutely beautiful.

There were fiddleheads growing in the wild. I buy them at Whole Foods this time of year, but I'd never seen them growing in the wild. I think these were a little past their edible-ness prime, and I wouldn't have picked them anyway since we were on state land.

I ran into a few hikers and a handful of mountain bikers. We also saw a chipmunk, a few squirrels, a couple of woodpeckers, a bunch of robins, a hawk, and a tiny little painted turtle.

We stopped for lunch at a scummy little marshy pond thing. It was bigger than a mud puddle, but not big enough to be anything else, really. Rocky, my dog who crosses the road when he sees a sprinkler ahead, had a blast walking through the water and leaping and splashing everything in sight.

We stopped at this fern-covered rock so I could change my sweaty socks for dry ones.

If I continue to do this hiking thing, I'm going to need breathable hiking boots. Still, we hiked for 5-ish miles, and though we're all tired (the dogs have slept, smelling faintly of muddy swamp-water, since we got home except to eat), I didn't get any blisters or ticks or, so far as I know, poison ivy. What I did get in the woods was peace for the first time since sometime in December. It was the first time I've felt like things might be okay.

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Today, the Middlesex Fells | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
awesome!!! by clock (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed May 07, 2008 at 04:47:26 PM EST
looks like you had a great time!  and a dog with a backpack is super keen.  porschea LOVES hers because (we think) it makes her feel like she's part of the pack and (we know) she knows it's time for the trail.

yay for hiking!


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

Re: being part of the pack by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed May 07, 2008 at 04:54:25 PM EST
I think that's why Rocky took to his so quickly -- carrying the backpack was his job. He really likes to have a job. Also, he likes that people give him attention when he's carrying the pack. I imagine that if we keep hiking regularly, then he's going to develop the pack=trail association pretty quickly.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
I dunno. by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed May 07, 2008 at 04:48:25 PM EST
Coming back without ticks?  That's a fail in some Husites eyes.

Peace is good though.

--
Click

For webwench by kwsNI (2.00 / 3) #13 Thu May 08, 2008 at 04:02:51 AM EST
That's a successful date

[ Parent ]
Difficult by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed May 07, 2008 at 05:08:04 PM EST
As far as I can figure, it's "difficult" because the rocks are loose and can be mossy. Nothing else makes sense.

Also fiddleheads: yum!

Also II: stay away from that reservoir. They take that no trespassing seriously. I got stopped by the cops once, and they weren't friendly. There is at least one unmarked trail into the no trespassing area along the bike trail that I must have used.

Also III: cute dogs.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

I think... by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu May 08, 2008 at 02:12:37 AM EST
there's a place near the Sheepfold where people do violate the no trespassing into the reservoir. I'm going to have to find a better place for the dogs to swim and play in the water, though. Today, they really do smell of mud (I'll have to give them the dreaded bath tonight after work, I think).

I think the dogs and I might need to try the Skyline trail at some point. I understand that it is a bit more difficult than the reservoir trail.

Fiddleheads are awesome. I think you're the first person who told me about them, so thank you.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
hiking shoes by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed May 07, 2008 at 07:57:26 PM EST
not just the shoes, but get a pair of wool hiking socks.  they keep your feet nice and cool and sweat-free.

also - great to hear you found some good mental space.

Thanks. :) by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu May 08, 2008 at 02:09:30 AM EST
Finding good mental space was becoming a necessity.

As far as socks go, I at least know enough not to wear cotton (been there, hobbled for days afterward). I don't have any lightweight wool socks, though, and these socks I was wearing are 2-layer to prevent friction and are great for short (2 miles-ish) walks around my neighborhood. I did know that they weren't going to actually work for the longer hike, especially with my Doc boots, though. I was looking at Merrell Moab boots for summer hiking. Any opinion, especially since you live and hike in a warm climate?
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
Polypro socks by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu May 08, 2008 at 02:49:00 AM EST
They wick water away from the feet. Wear them under a pair of tough leather boots and your feet can take on anything without becoming chemical weapons.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
shoes by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:04:09 AM EST
as far as shoes/boots go, you have to go try on a bunch to see what works for your foot.  The dudes at REI are awesome at making sure you get a good fit.

As for those particular boots - I have the regular shoe version that I wear for my day-to-day activities.  I love them.  Merrells just work well with my feet!

You may also want to consider just some regular trail shoes instead of boots.  They're much lighter and airier.  For me, I like boots when I do "real" hiking - I tend to kick up rocks back into my shoe (I guess I just walk weird), and the boots help keep the rocks out.

Oh - and my regular boots aren't all meshy, and I've never had a problem with my foot being overly hot as long as I'm wearing my good socks.

One more thing on socks - I personally love the Thorlios.  They have extra stretchy bits in the arch which feel like they massage my feet while I walk.

I can hike all day in my Merrell boots and Thorlio socks and not have achy feet!

[ Parent ]
*takes notes* by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:14:28 AM EST
This is really good information, and I'll look for the Thorlio socks (actually that might be the brand of one of my pairs of socks - they're labeled "left" and "right" for the extra arch support). The Dr. Martens I have are far too hot and too heavy for longish hikes, especially as it gets warmer here, so I think I'll end up getting something else. I have kind of weak ankles, and I worry about twisting one if I wear shoes, but it's something to think about.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
socks and shoes by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:31:11 AM EST
Another sock brand worth looking at is Bridgedale ime. Also, I very much agree with you on the ankles thing - I have a habit of turning on mine and even if you do, the boot will support it til you get somewhere to rest.

Bootswise, I currently have Meindl (mens ones as I have wide feet), with gortex lining. Here they often label boots A, A/B, B, B/C etc., A being lightest and D being worn with crampons on ice kind of thing. A/B is what I've normally gone for coz I'm a weekend hobbier rather than anything serious.

[ Parent ]
weak ankles by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu May 08, 2008 at 09:00:16 AM EST
hiking boots don't really support your ankles - they're not like ice skates.  at least, light & midweight hikers don't.  they protect your ankles from rocks, brush, etc. (my ankles would have been totally torn up after hiking through the canyons on our honeymoon if i hadn't had on boots).

if you're really worried about ankle support, you should get a pair of hiking poles (they look like ski poles).  it's amazing how much extra support the poles give you.

i forgot to mention earlier, if you want full-on summer shoes for hiking try the Keen sandals.  clock and i have put a TON of miles on our shoes (on trail and off) and they're just awesome.  when i was pregnant and none of my shoes fit me any more, i got a pair of Keen mary-janes that worked for fat feet.  they were the ONLY shoes I wore from my 4th month on, and i didn't have ANY foot problems while pregnant (other than terrible fluid retention); remember, I put on 60 pounds!

a few years ago i got tendonitis in my foot so i take shoes seriously.  i have 4 pair of Docs (2 mary-jane, 2 boots) i wear in non-summer weather, Merrells for sport shoes, Merrells for hiking, and Keen sandals for hiking & daily wear.  all of my dress shoes have low chunky heels.  Foot injuries suck!

in conclusion, go to REI and tell them what you want to do and let them fit you for shoes.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for all of this. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu May 08, 2008 at 09:12:23 AM EST
I've never owned a pair of proper hiking shoes or boots, though my typical shoe selection is definitely based on proper fit and comfort (lace-up Doc shoes for spring and fall, Doc boots for winter, Birkenstock sandals for summer, properly fitted running shoes for running and walking). I think I will go to REI and see what they fit me out with -- I just don't want to spend a pile of money on shoes that I'm only going to use for short hikes during the short New England outdoor season. Even for that, having the right shoes will be good.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
Ankle support by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu May 08, 2008 at 09:16:50 AM EST
Properly no, you're right that light boots don't support your ankles, but I do find having something around mine stops me from going over sideways on them.

[ Parent ]
Awesome by TPD (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu May 08, 2008 at 12:04:48 AM EST
If there is ANYTHING in the world cooler than a dog with a backpack, I have yet to see it!

I hope you continue to get you time, and continue to hike those blues away!

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM

Thanks. :) by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu May 08, 2008 at 02:14:48 AM EST
I've been told that it should work for me to cut my hours back this summer, so then we'll have more time for hiking in the woods. By the end of the summer, maybe I'll even get rid of these extra pounds I put on after quitting smoking, while actually feeling good about myself!
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
New rhyming slang: by gpig (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu May 08, 2008 at 01:41:16 AM EST
"woof and bark" == "park"
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(,   ,') -- eep
Swimmin by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu May 08, 2008 at 03:40:05 AM EST
There's a place you can go on the other side of 28 called Wright's Pond. One end of has a public beach but you have to be a Medford resident to use it. But the trails go all the way around it, and there are a couple places that are good, although illegal, places to get wet. They'll chase you out, but it's not part of the water supply, so they're not so mean about it.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
I've seen the signs for Wright's pond. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:06:20 AM EST
We might have to try that sometime. I've also thought of taking the dogs to Spot Pond, which is no longer a reservoir (they allow boating and fishing and such now), and see if there's a place away from the roads where I could let them off-leash. There's another park with a lake in Winchester (I think, or maybe Woburn), that seems to be open for people to walk around and stuff. I'm sure before the summer's over we'll find a place.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
Oh! by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:41:16 AM EST
Then Spot Pond would be much better. It was off limits when I lived there, I think, although I seem to remember a bunch of kids getting in trouble for skinny dipping once, but I'm not sure if it was the swimming or the skinny that got them in trouble.

And before May 15 you can go to the beach. Revere; Southie at Carson Beach, Castle Isl., or Malibu Beach; Winchester). After that, no dogs on the beach until Sept. I'm not sure what the rules are in someplace like Nahant or Hull. There's also somewhere in Lynn (I think it's near the Swampscott line) that you can take dogs year round. It's rocks, not beach, though.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
I think Spot Pond used to be for drinking water. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 08, 2008 at 05:53:46 AM EST
And that was changed pretty recently, as I recall, so it may very well have been off-limits when you lived around here. The beach suggestions are good, too -- thanks. :)
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
They opened Spot Pond by ana (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu May 08, 2008 at 06:23:36 AM EST
like 5 years ago or so, after they built a new covered reservoir back in the woods SE of the pond. Then they took down the fences around it, opened a DCR ranger station, and started renting boats. Dunno if swimming is allowed or not.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Where's the hiking shoe-picks ? by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu May 08, 2008 at 04:33:13 AM EST
not quite Bob Abooey yet ;)

Wow! Sigh Rocky up for GQ. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #22 Thu May 08, 2008 at 08:06:23 AM EST
He's quite the looker.

He's a very handsome boy, for sure. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #25 Thu May 08, 2008 at 09:13:07 AM EST
And he loves the attention his looks give him.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
fiddleheads by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #27 Thu May 08, 2008 at 01:41:42 PM EST
Those were definitely a couple of days past their prime, the harvesting window is pretty short.

Now you've made me all nostalgic for K5.

re: hiking boots, I like a decent pair of workboots.  They're well built, and made to be comfortable all day. I find modern thinsulate boots breathe quite well.

If you lace them all the way up they do provide a bit of ankle support.



I like the clover on the toe. :) by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #28 Thu May 08, 2008 at 03:06:10 PM EST
And those do look like awesome boots.

I kind of suspected that the fiddleheads were just about right on Monday when I first saw them, but, like I said, I didn't want to start picking things on state land. If they were morels, thought, then I'd say screw the state, those are mine.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
no iPod? by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #29 Fri May 09, 2008 at 08:05:06 AM EST
wow.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

Right On! by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #30 Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:45:24 AM EST
Nothing like a quiet hike out in the woods to refresh the spirit.

re boots etc: I did the 6 mile trek to the waterfalls in my Nike running shoes. Frankly unless you're doing some serious backpacking I don't see the need for expensive boots - the major concern (as I understand it) is that whatever you're wearing be comfortable and properly fit.

That said - I wish we had an REI in our neck of the woods - I'd like to try on some of the better hiking boots just because I'm a boots kinda guy.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

I thought REI was everywhere! by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:51:54 AM EST
I really love having one nearby -- between REI and LL Bean, all of my fashion needs are met. I considered hiking in /my/ Nike running shoes, but I was worried about the traction they'd have (and about turning over my ankle). I also confess that I didn't want to get my nice shiny running shoes muddy.

You're right about a nice hike in the woods, though. I can't wait to go again. It's a shame it's going to be cold and raining this weekend.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
+1 turtle by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #32 Sat May 17, 2008 at 04:36:27 AM EST
My sister and I used to have a Mother's Day ritual of going to a reservoir in Brookline (dating back to when we lived in Brookline, the first year I was in the States) with a picnic lunch and taking a walk around the reservoir afterwards. We called it "her annual exercise" (she's usually the kind of person who loops around a parking lot multiple times to make sure she's got the absolute closest space -- and the reservoir is not that big, either).

We've sort of dropped the habit since my sister became a mother herself (although her kids are starting to be old enough to handle the walk) but one of the last times, I remember there was a woman with her dog there, who was throwing sticks for him to fetch in the reservoir. My sister went up to her and said "Um hello, that's drinking water?" but she just looked at us blankly.

Anyway, here's hoping you find more cool venues to take Rocky-with-a-backpack.

--
"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

The turtle was extraordinarily cute. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #33 Sat May 17, 2008 at 04:50:21 AM EST
If I were still a 14-year-old kid, I would've taken it home as a pet.

I figure that there are turtles and fish and geese all pooping in the reservoir water, so even though it's drinking water, an occasional swim by a dog isn't such a horrible thing. Still, though, I wouldn't want everybody's dog to be swimming in it, or, even worse, people swimming in it.
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To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM

[ Parent ]
Today, the Middlesex Fells | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback