Monday, March 07, 2005

Broadmoor Again

I spent a good part of last week itching to go snowshoeing. I did have to work part of the weekend so the snowshoeing location had to be close to home. I investigated the possibilities at two places I've never visited (Great Brook Farm and the Weston Ski Track). Amy decided to join me and requested a return to Broadmoor, since it's so convenient.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Unfortunately we weren't moving that quickly. By the time we suited up and headed out clouds had moved in. Not to worry, though, we were dressed for whatever Mother Nature threw our way. We suited up outside the Nature Center and head for the Marsh Trail. With temperatures in the upper 30s/low 40s the snow was soft and mushy. This made the going difficult at times.

It was clear that the weather has been on the warmer side - we saw several small insects along the way. As always the trails were not very crowded, although we did see a few other people along the way. I had to stop a couple of times for boot adjustment. (It's definitely time for new boots.)

Since we were returning to a site I'd visited so recently, we headed off to investigate previously unknown trails. At the Mill Pond we attempted to locate a short trail that is supposed to cut across the stream before joining up with the Boundary trail. We were denied, we got across the stream but it was unclear where the trail went from there. Given the warmth of the day we decided to err on the side of caution and not test the limits of the ice on the far edge of the stream.

After returning to the Mill Pond trail we followed the south side of the trail to the Boundary Trail. The Boundary Trail heads north east along the edge of the Sanctuary's boundary. Along the way we found a couple of stretches of bare ground (it is weird snowshoeing on pine needles), a tree with a very impressive top to bottom split, and at the point where the sanctuary backs up to a neighborhood several back yards. It was a little odd to snowshoe behind the houses. Just past the houses the trail heads down a fairly steep hill into an open field. Here we encountered another significant patch of bare ground.

The going across the field was probably the most difficult of the day. The wet snow was heavy and what trail existed was not very wide. Whether we walked in the existing trail, or off to the side we were breaking a new trail. At the far end of the field the trail map indicates that the trail crosses a branch of the Charles River. When we arrived there, we didn't see anyway to cross without getting wet feet. Our alternative was removing our snowshoes, climbing over a stone wall and walking in the road that borders this edge of the Sanctuary to the other side of the river. So, off with the snowshoes, over the wall, and across the bridge we went (that's where this picture was taken).

Once across the bridge we sat down on the stone wall to reattach our snowshoes, and have a snack. From there we headed back into the woods, up a slight hill to the junction of the Glacial Hill and Mill Pond trails. Amy was feeling pretty pooped at this point (a surprise to me since I'm usually the one to tire first) so we headed back toward the Nature Center. We took the southern leg of the Mill Pond trail, which traverses hill before heading down to join the Marsh trail.

After a short break at the Marsh lookout, it was back to the car and home.

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