Thanksgiving 2009, Arlington MA - a morning with fog so dense and white that trees just a block away faded into mist. Damp but fragrant air, temperatures in the mid 40's. A great day for a walk in the Middlesex Fells, a natural treasure just around the corner in Medford.
The light on this cloudy day illuminated mossy logs and lichen-covered rocks in a magical way. The photos show a "nurse log", supporting vibrant green moss, a pine seedling, and a small community of healthy fungi. A tiny wintergreen (pipsissewa) grows alongside - it will provide a welcome green all through the winter.
We traversed many small hills and ravines. A pervasive quiet, and sounds of birds left the din of civilization fading into the background. At one point we paused, hearing the sound of something dropping from trees. Might it be just water droplets? Looking skyward, we saw birds feeding on catkins in a tall birch tree. We were hearing the sounds of bits falling from these crumbling catkins as they hit the brown crinkly leaves covering the ground. I had never experienced this before. Nature will always surprise and delight.
You may click on the photos above for a larger image.
The Route: Start at the smaller Parking area just south of the Long Pond Parking area on South Border Road, on the west border of the Fells. Proceed south along the Skyline Trail, about 1/4 mile to where it joins the Reservoir trail. Take the Reservoir trial north for about a mile, to north of Nanepashemet Hill, where it crosses the Skyline trail. Take the Skyline trail left, turning south for the return trip. While the trails are very well marked with white and orange blazes (small squares on the trees and painted on rocks), having the excellent map and guide published by the Friends of the Fells is essential for not getting lost in the Fells (not that getting lost is all that bad).