Over the summer, our hikes were tough to manage. Without gymnastics blocking out the time, we either had to hike as a family, or hike when Evie was otherwise occupied, which wasn’t often. Given the heat and the bugs, we didn’t get out nearly as often as we had hoped.
But Fall is here, and with it comes cooler temperatures, fewer bugs, and a renewed presence in gymnastics for our little bundle of energy.
So we’re getting back out there. Over the last few weeks, when we’ve been able to, we’ve made it onto trails. We visited Heins Farm again (just about a year after the last time) as well as the South Spencer Rail Trail (which I last visited in December). We didn’t snap a lot of pictures, and I don’t really have much to describe in terms of a blow-by-blow, but it was good to get back on the trail.
Today, I took the day off from work to spend with my wife, celebrating her birthday (which was earlier this week). While our daughter spent the day at school, we went on a mid-day hike exploring the Heins Farm property in Sturbridge, MA. You can see a trail map at the Friends of Sturbridge Trails site.
It’s a beautiful property close to Old Sturbridge Village. There’s a trail designed for accessibility (The Pond Loop, 0.7 miles) as well as another 2.3 miles of trails in a variety of terrain from wooded to wild fields. We hiked the majority of the trails at an easy pace and would recommend this trail to all skill levels. It was quiet but only a stone’s throw from OSV and Route 20, making it a quick retreat close to home.
We started with the Pond Loop, which is half on one side of Leadmine Road, and half on the other. The trail is clearly marked, wide, and gentle in terms of grade, surrounded by trees. On one side of the road, laminated children’s book pages have been attached to the trees making for an interesting diversion for the little ones (our little one was already happily diverted by school, of course). On the other side of the road, the trail passes a small pond (with a bench for enjoying the view and the birds) before meeting up with the other trails on the property or returning to the parking area.
After exploring the Pond Loop, we moved to the Cabin Loop (home of a spooky old cabin) and the Stafford Turnpike Trail. The Cabin Loop is similar to the Pond Loop but narrower and steeper in grade. The Stafford Turnpike Trail has a wider variety of terrain including open fields (where wasps had taken over the birdhouses, as far as we could tell; we moved on).
We found one geocache (by the pond) but didn’t sign the log (no pen!); there are others in this area as well, including a night cache (we found some obvious markings leading towards this but didn’t pursue them). I’m not sure I want to see that cabin at night, for what it’s worth….