Day of activities and trip report by Pam F.
Photos by Ken L.
GONewEngland's 5th Anniversary we started off with a hike to Mt
Uncanoonuc. This was originally planned to be a snowshoe hike, but due
to the lack of snow, the shoes were not needed. We took the 2 1/2 mile
stroll from my house to the trailhead. It was a nice, warm sunny
day. The hike was a little challenging in spots with icy patches. We
dined on the rocks at the top of the mountain and enjoyed the
sunshine...it did not feel like February!
Next on the agenda was the
potluck dinner. We had a nice variety of appetizers, entrees and
desserts, all quite yummy and plentiful. Thanks to everyone who
participated. Kudos to Ken for an outstanding job of creating,
organizing and maintaining GONewEngland over the past five years.
(click for larger pictures)
The Lunar Surface
Gary M. was nice enough to bring his
telescope and provide us with some great views of the stars,
moon, and planets, and his knowledge. Thanks Gary.
Jen stargazes from her chair
After stargazing we continued
on with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and another dessert.
Jen with Shadow
|Shadow, my black lab, enjoyed all
the extra attention nicely provided by all the guests...he sends
A thank you from Your Webmaster to all who attended the
Fifth Anniversary Day of Activities! It's been a wonderful five
years, and I'm looking forward to the next five---and many more!
|Boxford State Forest - January 12, 2002
Activity and Photos by Ken L.
Report by Lara S.
Here we are ready to begin our walk through
Boxford State Forest. (A cup of hot coffee will be awaiting us after the
hike, right?????) The park was easy to find, just off Route 114 at the
North Andover-Middleton town line.
Lara, Jim, Jan, Donna, Ben, Jack, Your Webmaster, Jen
The trails seemed to be there only for us. There were only two cars in
the parking lot besides ours when we set out around 10 AM. Although you
cannot tell by the pictures, we actually did see a fleeting glimmer of sun
along the way. The crisp cool air made for a perfect afternoon of hiking.
(Although Iím a little biased, as almost any day in my opinion makes for a
perfect day to hike).
As we began our walk, we deliberately stepped on the icy spots to hear
the crunching sound, perhaps, reminiscent of childhood walks.
||Bing. Bong. Baboong. Okay, that isnít quite the perfect
translation of the interesting sound effects of the rocks echoing as
they hit the ice, but I had to try. We all took a turn tossing out a
rock. The structure here was originally set up as a missile silo.
Boxford was going to be used a test site but lost funding. That
might have been a misfortune at the time to some, but for us, we
preferred the resulting consequence of having a great place to enjoy the
outdoors. You can read more about Boxford State Forest on the
January 1 hike.
|The beavers were nowhere to be seen but they left us with plenty
examples of their hard work to admire. Busy beavers!!
Cellar hole of the Russell-Hooper Farmhouse
"A soldier of the revolution."
|After visiting Mr. James Russell, we stopped for lunch and
pondered what it might have been like when the forest where we were
now sitting was farmland. Our imaginations were helped by some of
the structures still standing, such as the old chimney.
We also found a more modern treasure here. A geocaching box. Jan was the
brave one who offered to take the first peek inside. Surprisingly, nothing
jumped out at us as we peeped over her shoulder. The box contained a wide
variety of interesting articles, including a St. Patrickís Day button and
other such souvenirs. We contributed a GoNewEngland business card and
replaced the treasure box to entertain the next group of geocachers. See
Kenís note for more information about geocaching.
Geocaching has its roots in
Letterboxing, where small
boxes (caches) are placed throughout the countryside, and you
discover caches other people hid by following clues. Geocaches
are pretty much the same thing, only you use a GPS to find the
location of the cache. (A GPS is an electronic navigational
aid that uses satellites to help locate you. You can enter a
location into your GPS (like the location of this geocache), and
your GPS will help you find it.)
In the box will be trinkets
left behind by others, and there's usually a log book. There
may also be a special stamp, and you stamp your book with the stamp
in the box to indicate that you found the cache. You also
stamp their log book with your stamp, write something in the log
book, and maybe leave a trinket. We left a GONewEngland
business card in the geocache we found.
This geocache was labeled "Double
Trouble Part 1 - Sarah's surprise". Is this familiar to
anyone? And where's "Part 2"? And who is this Sarah?
Many mysteries in the woods of the Boxford State Forest...
Over half way and we are still smiling.
Here we are almost back to the parking lot. The thought of the nice big
cup of hot coffee was still on my mind, and I expressed it out loud enough
that eventually it became contagious. Donna, a fellow coffee-drinker,
began thinking of her cup as well.
This was my
first outing with GoNewEngland, and my first hike in Massachusetts. I
wasnít disappointed. Such a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
|Mt. Uncanoonuc - January 5, 2002
Activity and Trip Report by Pam Fortier
Photos by Jan Giles
Pam, Shadow, and Susan
Jan G., Sue, Shadow, and I walked the
approximately 2.5 miles to the trail, stopping on the way at the
coffee shop for beverages and pastry, which makes the walk more
enjoyable. The weather was pleasant---not too cold.
A stream along the way
Most snow and ice has long melted except
on the mountain, but we found some slippery spots on the way
After having a pleasant lunch on the top
of the mountain, we headed down. Going back down was another story.
The icy spots that weren't bad on the way up slowed us on the way
down. We took side trips off the trail to avoid icy patches. It was
a balancing act, and the new waist leash I have for Shadow actually
helped my balance. Next hike here will most likely be on snowshoes.
Susan and Jan on the way down
(the first time - we took the wrong trail back)
L: Susan might avoid the ice way over
but her foot found a big stick!
R: Susan slipped on the ice on the way back up
L: Good thing we went back up - Jan
forgot the picture from the top
L: It's the real trail home
We enjoyed an excellent meal of Mexican
appetizers after the hike---except for Shadow of course who stayed
at home with a Milk Bone.
|Penguin Plunge - January 1, 2002
Activity and Trip Report by Jan Giles
Q: What is the COOLEST thing a GONewEnglander
could have done on New Year's Day? A: Jump into the Atlantic Ocean!
Jan and Randy
Randy and I headed down to Jamestown, RI to join several hundred other courageous but crazy people for the Penguin Plunge at noontime on January 1.
Air temperature: high 20's. Wind chill: yes! Water temperature: 41.
By the time we arrived at 10:30 am, beach parking was nearly full. You would have thought we were at a football game with all the tailgate parties
and, shall we say, colorful people. We milled around, talked to people, and gawked at some of the more outrageous characters.
The Fur Guy, the Fat Patriot,
and the Painted People
A few minutes before noon, we
peeled down to our bathing suits and joined about 600 people to run
down a chute into the water. I'd say spectators outnumbered us about
3 to 1.
Waiting in line
By the time we actually began to
move, I had lost the feeling in my hands, though we were all jumping
up and down, running in place, screaming, etc. The water was warmer
than the air, but it quickly became apparent that no matter how far
I ran in, the water never rose above my knees, and I think ice balls
were beginning to form inside my shoes. At that point, I just threw
myself in so I could get the heck out! I lost sight of Randy before
long. I hear he swam all the way out to the Coast Guard cutter and
Randy and Jan ----- all wet!
We met up again on the beach and discovered that we really did not feel too chilled. However, it felt great to dry off and get those warm clothes back
After lunch in Jamestown, we headed home.
Randy and I agree this should be an annual GONewEngland event. Not only did we survive, we had a ton of fun.
Hope to see a lot more of you there next
|Boxford State Forest - January 1, 2002
Activity by Ken Leonard
Navigational Assistance by Michael S. -- THANK YOU!
||The Boxford State Forest is a large parcel of land in the
Boxford/Middleton/North Andover area of Massachusetts. It's
not far at all from the more well known Harold Parker State Forest,
but the Boxford SF isn't nearly as crowded. It may not offer
as many ponds, as many acres, and as many amenities as the Harold
Parker State Forest, but the Boxford SF holds its own for enjoyable
hiking, biking, equestrian, and X-C ski trails.
Our New Year's Day
hike was met with beautiful sunny skies, a small breeze, and temps
that were a tad on the chilly side but were helped by the sun.
Fourteen of us and three wonderful pooches made the trip around
the Boxford SF, and, thanks to Michael who had a great map
and helped navigate, Your Webmaster was able to check out a new area
he hadn't seen yet - very nice!
Standing: Michael, Bill, Michelle, Tom, Pam,
Dawn, Michele, Dave, Arnie, Marie, Jack, and Your Webmaster
Front: Barbie (and Chloe somewhere in there), Shadow,
Annette, and Tammy The Wonder Dog
The first thing we checked out was the old missile silo. That's
right - the Boxford SF was to be a nuke site, but the funding was cut, and
now it's mostly state land. The old silo is just a pit, and it's
filled with water.
Tom tossed some rocks out onto the ice, and they made a really neat sound
as they bounced and skittered about the surface.
We wandered in the woods a ways, and we eventually came across what's
left of the old Russell-Hooper Farm. There are a few interesting
things to see there, so take the time to wander around, and don't forget
to head to the top of Bald Hill. Why? Just because it's there.
Chloe gets a treat from Bill
Pit stop on
Checking out the
Tom, Annette, and Tammy The Wonder Dog
From there Michael guided us to the area of the Boxford SF that I'd
never seen. We went past Crooked Pond and up through some old growth
pine woods. It was dark, spooky, and, well, just great!
At Crooked Pond...
Pam, Annette, Michele (with Shadow and Tammy)
Tom (with a huge for-the-camera smile), Barbie (and Chloe)
Hiking into the woods
Pam, Annette, Barbie
Shadow, Tammy, Chloe
Towne Pond was also on the agenda, but it was getting a bit late, and
Tammy and Chloe were beginning to wind down. So we elected to head
back out to the cars, and we'll get to Towne Pond another day.
This was the right way to kick off the New Year!
Oh -- our trek can be seen on the map. At left
center is the parking area (at Forest St. and Sharpner's Pond Road).
Go from the parking area to 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 8A, 9, 10 (and up onto Bald
Hill, then back down), 11, 12, 13A, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 25, 24, 23, 22,
21, 20, 19, 18 (we were going to head out to Town Pond here, but didn't),
31, 8, 7, 6, 2, 1, parking area. Connect the dots! :-)