Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My First Time Snowshoeing

This fall I bought a pair of snowshoes. Until this week we had not had any measurable snow. Then Mother Nature decided to dump two feet of snow in 24 hours.  I had to shovel snow at work today. I got out of work about 3:30. I went home and scraped my driveway one more time.
I decided to take my snowshoes on their maiden voyage. I went to Wrentham State Forest because the parking area was plowed. I put on my gaiters and my snowshoes. Saying there was two feet of snow was no exaggeration. As I started down the unbroken trail, I was sinking down about a foot.

I hiked for about an hour. I had fun. It was a pretty good workout. It was getting dark as I came out of the woods. All in all, I had a good time. I plan on going again Thursday. I certainly plan on making snowshoeing part of my winter hobbies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

River Bend Farm and Lookout Rock

As usual on my day off last week I went for a hike. I chose one of the prettier areas I know of. The Blackstone River State Park has many small parcels. One of them is the River Bend Farm area in Uxbridge, MA. The area is very scenic. There is a canal along with a path that goes a mile or so. There is a small pond. Laurie and I go there a couple times a year. We look for turtles and frogs. One year we saw a four foot long northern water snake sunning itself.

This trip, I wanted to hike places I had never been. First up was a place called Lookout Rock. I parked on Quaker Street.  I didn't know how long the hike would be from the parking area. Turns out the walk wasn't much of a hike. It was maybe a five minute walk. The view overlooks the Blackstone River in a marshy area. It is really pretty.

From there I walked the couple of miles back towards the Stone Arch Bridge on Hartford Ave. The walk is relatively flat after coming down from the rock. It is a really pretty woods. I enjoyed it. There was a cove that was partially frozen in the river.

The walk back and forth took a couple hours. After I got done with that hike I drove back to Hartford Ave. I parked at the Medical Center by the waterfall. I crossed the street and walked into the field. There is a trail that goes over Goat Hill. There is a loop that counter clockwise follows the river to Goat Hill lock. Then it turns around and goes back toward the car by going over Goat Hill. The hike up Goat Hill is mildly strenuous but there isn't any views that I could find. The walk towards the wooded summit follows some really well preserved stone walls.

 I spent about four hours in the area. I highly recommend checking this area out. It is a nice area in the spring. I am looking forward to the view from Lookout rock once the trees have leaves. There are picnic tables at River Bend Farm and along the path from Quaker Street to Hartford Ave.
The View from Lookout Rock

This is Lookout Rock. The view above is from the
top of the rock

These woods of White Pines
were very inviting

These tables are a ten minute walk from the parking are
on Hartford Ave, Uxbridge

Goat Hill Lock was used to get barges through the
canal in the 1800's

Monday, January 19, 2015

Great Meadows and Author's Ridge

One New Year's Day after a hike in Blue Hills, I went to Great Meadows in Concord, MA. Great Meadows is a National Wildlife Refuge. I love Great Meadows. The scenery is beautiful and it is loaded with wildlife. The day before, there was a sighting of a bald eagle.

I did not see a lot the day I went. I didn't see the bald eagle. My highlight was seeing some coots.

After my walk of two miles ( I was limping by the end because of a sore hip, because I hiked five miles then jogged four miles around Ponkapaug Pond) I went to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Concord during the 1800's was the site of more brilliant minds than possibly any place before or since. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau not only were neighbors but friends. They are all buried next to each other on the appropriately named Author's Ridge. There are usually flowers or tokens at the graves of them author's especially Thoreau. I was there only a few minutes but could feel the genius in the air.


Muskrat Lodge

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

A couple weeks ago Laurie and I went to one of my favorite places for a walk. We went to Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA. Daniel Webster is one of the better places to see raptors that I know of. There are acres of fields, marsh, forest, and a river runs through it. Mass Audubon owns the property. If you get a chance to take a walk there, especially during the spring, it is worth the drive.

There is a lot of wildlife. More often than not, if I stay until dark, I see a deer or two. During the spring, this is one of the best places I know of to see bobolinks and woodcocks. I never know what I'm going to see there.

The day Laurie and I went of course was winter. We only went  for the hour before dark. It was very cold. I didn't mind the weather, but Laurie is not used to being outside, so she was not having much fun. She was a trooper and was hoping to see an owl, so she didn't complain.

For us, the highlights were a hawk that was on a post right next to the path. We also saw a couple deer. Two of them were in the field hundreds of yards away. The other two were right next to the blind near the parking lot. These two were beautiful bucks. They were only a few yards away. Unfortunately, we saw these two right near dark so getting a decent picture was not an option.

Two deer from a considerable distance

Daniel Webster was named because the great
US Senator from Massachusetts is buried in the cemetery next door

Friday, January 16, 2015

Christmas Day at Rocky Narrows

On Christmas I have to find something to do in the afternoons. DJ goes over his mom's house after we open presents and have breakfast. My friend Laurie does the same. After spending the day with there respective families, we all meet later for Christmas dinner. I have come to cherish these few hours to start a Christmas tradition to spend some time outdoors. This Christmas was beautiful. The temperature was about 60 degrees and sunny. Knowing what the weather would be like for a few days, I couldn't wait to do a hike.

I went to Rocky Narrows. This area is another property owned by the Trustees of the Reservation. This is one of their more popular properties. I figured that Christmas would be a good day to go hoping it wouldn't be very crowded. When I got there, only one other car was in the lot. However, by the time I got back to my car, the lot was full. a lot of people were on the trail enjoying a beautiful day. Almost all of them were wearing brand shiny new hiking boots.

Rocky Narrows is very large. There are miles of trails. My goal were the two views of the Charles River. I did a big loop that lasted a couple hours. The scenery was nice and you actually can get far enough from the road that you can get the deep woods feel. For maps, they are posted at the trailhead along with pamphlets that contain a map, or you can download it from the Trustess website.

A boot view from the overlook.
Thanks for the idea for this shot Steve Smith

The river in the picture is the Charles

At 60 degrees I knew there wouldn't be any ice in the swamps or
vernal pools

There were quite a few of cars in the lot when I got
back to the lot

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Upcoming Outdoor Shows

We are upon the winter outdoor show season. There are quite a few shows in the southern/central MA and Rhode Island area. I missed the Rockingham (NH) Show last week.

Fly Fishing Show, Marlboro, MA       January 16, 17, 18      

Providence Boat Show                         January 23,24, 25       

New England Fishing and outdoor Expo   Feb  6, 7, 8              
in Boxboro (formally Worcester)

Springfield Sportsmen Show                  Feb 19-22                 

RISAA  Saltwater Fishing Show            Feb 27-Mar 1              

There are a couple other shows  in the area, but these are the ones I have frequented. This year, I am going to the fly fishing show all day Friday.

I will most likely be going to the fishing shows in February. I will skip the boat show. Ironically, I think I will skip the best one this year. The RISAA show is far and away the best show of the ones listed. However, I am so disappointed in the state of the striper population. I think I'm going to spend a  lot more time hiking and freshwater fishing. The way I see it, striper fishing really hasn't been worth the effort. Because of this, I really don't need to buy any lures, and I doubt, I will learn at anything at seminars that I will put into practice this year.

If you have cabin fever then these shows will break the monotony of the winter, but they will make you wish for spring even more.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Goals for 2015

At the beginning of every year, I come up with a series of goals for the upcoming year. I have been racking my brain, more this January than most to come up with ideas. I don't know why I seem to have less goals this year. Maybe in a week, I will think of ten ideas. I always reserve the right to add until the end of the month.

Two goals that I will not try for are;

1. I will not purposely try to catch a certain number of fish species. I'm not going to try for 30 species, or aim to break 32. If I feel the urge to fish for sea robins, it will be because I want to fish a beach not to add to a number.

2. Usually I try to reach a certain waterfall or fish a lake or two in New Hampshire. This year I am not going to do that. I'd rather come up with my plan for hikes the day before a trip or on the ride up. Why would I set an itinerary in January for a June hike? I'd rather the freedom of deciding last minute based on weather, my fitness level, and my mood than hike just to cross a waterfall off a predetermined list.

Without goals in the mountains, I fear this list will be shorter than normal. We will see if I think of more during the rest of the month.

1. Run a 5k.

2. Go to New Hampshire as many times as I can.

3. Fish for albies the second week of September.

4. When the weather is hot in mid summer and fishing slows down, do a few of the hikes I did this winter to see those areas with green leaves.

5. Smoke some trout.

6. If possible, fish for golden trout in May.

( I'm not going to write anything about
ice fishing or carp fishing. These are things I do anyway)

7. Go to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

8. Go to a drive in movie

9.Do a better job of keeping records. I did a good job of keeping records in 2013, but by the middle of 14, I slipped in my record keeping.

10..   to be continued???