Fall-Winter 2003
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'Twas the Hike After Christmas
Boxford State Forest - December 26, 2003

Activity by Ken L.
Photos and trip report by Ken L. and Tom S.

'Twas the hike after Christmas, and all through the woods
Two creatures were stirring - their jackets had hoods

Stockings were worn that were chosen with care
To keep the toes warm in the cold Boxford air

And Tom all dolled up and ready to prance

Just what were you thinking when you put on those pants?

Your Webmaster in layers, fleece band for a cap
A bold fashion statement, yet still looks like crap
When out in the woods there was nary a patter
Your Webmaster had stopped, clearly something the matter

Away to the north, or was that west that we dashed
When the trail disappeared, through the woods we did crash

Poor Tom, feeling peckish, gnawed a leg of turkey

And four minutes later he had gnawed through a tree!

When, what to our wandering eyes should appear,
But a landmark familiar--we let out a cheer!

Doubting Your Webmaster who was thinking so quick
I'm sure Tom regrets being such a ...
nasty person to Your Webmaster

Despite getting them back from whence they came
Back lost in the woods, Tom hurled out some names:

"You moron!  You idiot!  You jerk and maggot!
You couldn't stop bushwhacking when I said to bag it!"

"Dunderhead!  Freak!  Ingrate!  Sleaze!
You had to get us lost and walk through the trees!"

But now Tom spoke not a word, but went straight to work
And to the right trail, he turned with a jerk

We sprang to our feet, and gave a quick whistle
Back to the cars, past the leaves and the thistle
But Your Webmaster exclaimed, ere he drove out of sight,
"Despite getting lost, it was still a good hike!"

The day's hike in the Boxford State Forest started out like any other---safe in the parking lot.  Tom S. and Your Webmaster skidded over the slickest ice buried just under the snow and somehow made it into the woods.

Instead of taking "the long way", Tom wanted to follow the Bay Circuit Trail which cuts through the Boxford State Forest.  No problem.  We made it all the way from one side to the other, and we spied a continuation of the trail across the road:  the Lockwood Forest.

Lockwood Forest Map
Lockwood Forest Map

After studying the Boxford State Forest map, your intrepid hiking crew turned left, walked the road a bit, and entered the BSF on a different trail.

That's when things started to go wrong, as Tom points out... -->

Compass? We don' need no steenkin' compass!

After finishing the Bay Circuit Trail portion of the hike, our stalwart hikers took a slight road walk and re-entered the forest on a different path. Within five minutes, they made a wrong turn, leaving the trail along what appeared to be a path, emphasis on the word "appeared." After walking 50 yards or so, our intrepid adventurers realized that they had gone the wrong way, but it is to their everlasting credit that neither one even thought of re-tracing those 50 yards.

No! Not them! Turn around? Ha! Figuring it would be but a simple matter to bushwhack a few miles though alternating areas of thick snow, wet marshland, heavy underbrush and a flooded beaver pond, our brave heroes plodded on. Eventually, and somewhat to their surprise, they did come across a trail. Too bad for them that they had become completely turned around and went the wrong way on the trail.

Yes, sad to say that our dashing explorers walked back along the same trail they had taken when they left the road. When they came upon the place where they had erroneously left the trail, they didn't recognize it, but after after much discussion and head shaking, decided it went in the wrong direction and so they continued on the trail directly away from the direction in which their cars were parked. When they came to the very same paved road that they had left a mere hour before, they realized that a horrible mistake had been made. Yes, sad to say, the map-makers had screwed up drawing the map and the trail makers had screwed up constructing the trail. Noble souls that they are, though, our dauntless fellows held no hard feelings for the map makers and trail makers who had caused them to become lost and simply turned around. By happy chance, they did not re-trace their circuitous wanderings but stumbled upon the proper path.


Bartlett Inn Weekend - November 7-9, 2003
Crawford Path - November 8, 2003
Mt. Willard - November 9, 2003

Activity by Ken L.
Once again Get Outdoors New Englanders were treated to the Bartlett Inn, a B&B not far from Mt. Attitash.  Nick and Miriam have taken ownership of the Inn, and they have been hard at work making repairs and doing a bit of decorating.

The living room is still the place to gather, and several of us popped in for a bit before heading out for dins at the Red Parka--always quite filling!

Oh, bad news for the Bartlett Inn veterans:  no more big couch in the living room.  Nick told us that the big couch that was there had died, and they had to get a replacement, and it was much smaller and just a regular couch, not one of those "sectionals".  We put in our vote for Nick and Miriam to bring the big couch back!

On Saturday Your Webmaster, Sasha, Michelle, Pam, Randy, Ellen, Rachel, and David and our four-footed friends Shadow and Nelson hiked the Crawford Path.

OK, so Your Webmaster had wanted to do the Davis Path, but, ya know, he's got a mind akin to fine Swiss cheese, so we wound up heading over by the new AMC hostel and hooking up with the Crawford Path.

The way up to the Mizpah Hut isn't all that difficult, so the group of us trudged along.

Pam and Randy fell behind when Randy had to grab something from the car, and the rest of us plodded along, expecting them to show up.  David even took Shadow's leash for a while, thinking Pam would be there to get the dog later.  Despite our dawdling, we didn't see Pam and Randy.  Weird!

Michelle demonstrates a frozen Camelback

Trail conditions were pretty nasty in spots.  It had been rainy for the two weeks previous, and then the cold set in.  The trail wasn't too bad at the base, but as time went on, it became very slick with ice.

The weather also became a bit iffy.  Already fairly cold, the wind was steady, which never helps on was was essentially a winter hike.  The group (still minus Pam and Randy) decided to take the turn to the Mizpah Hut...

...which, of course, was closed up tighter than a drum!

We had lunch and waited for Pam and Randy to show.  The sun began to duck behind the clouds, and one could see squalls were due.  Where were Pam and Randy?  Did they head to the summit?

The group decided to head back down and not go for the summit, given the weather.  We were hoping to see Pam and Randy coming up the trail, but nope.  We made it back down to the parking lot just in time for a squall.  Randy's truck was still there, and there was no sign of our friends.  We figured they had gone for the summit, not turning toward the Hut as we had done.

It was a chore to get Shadow into a car he wasn't used to (this is a dog who doesn't like to walk over tile floors), but we all found a spot and made our way back to the Inn.

At the inn dinner was being prepared.  Other GONewEnglanders who had scattered for the day had been hanging about helping with dinner or just lazing in the living room.

As time went on we started to get a bit nervous about Pam and Randy, who had still not made it back to the inn.  Randy is a veteran hiker, and Pam has been doing her share of higher elevations, so we were concerned, but not worried.  Sure enough, just before dinner was served, they came through the door.  Pam and Randy had gone for the summit and made it.  The section of trail up there was much steeper and much more icy, so they had a time of it.  They made it back around the summit to the Mizpah Hut and saw all of our tracks and put two and two together.  So they carefully made it the rest of the way down over the ice and were in time to have a great repast with us.

For the second year in a row, Ern commandeered the kitchen to produce some spectacular edibles.  In the above picture Anneke (Mrs. Ern) and Ern are serving.  Note the brown crock pot.  It had the most wonderful seafood chowdah Your Webmaster has ever had---outstanding!  Ern caught me going back for seconds, but he didn't catch me going back for thirds.  :-)

As usual, Sunday came way too quickly.  After the delicious breakfast served up by Nick and a few assistants, the GONewEnglanders scattered.  I don't know where everyone went, but when we discovered that Randy hadn't been to Mt. Willard yet, there was no question where at least a few of us would be headed.

Your Webmaster, Jan, Pam, Randy, and Shadow

Mt. Willard is normally an easy, relatively short hike.  Again we had cold temperatures and some wind, but the way the trail is situated it's relatively sheltered.  Once in the woods, the wind subsides a bit.

Now if we thought the Crawford Path had a lot of ice, the trail up Mt. Willard was completely insane!

Frozen brook---or the trail...?

Loads of ice on this one, which made things a bit hairy especially on the way down, but we persevered.

The reward...?

Following our Mt. Willard hike, we spent a little time at the new AMC Hostel getting warm by the big fireplace and checking out the new digs.  After that it was to---no surprise here---the Woodstock Inn for some stout and dins.  The weekend ended all too soon.

Thanks to Nick and Miriam of the Bartlett Inn for their hospitality and to Ern and Anneke for a wonderful Saturday night dinner (you spoil us, you really do!).  Thanks to everyone for comin' on by, and we'll see you again next time!