Into the Undergrowth


    On Joe’s final day with us we planned a walk into the Gardner State Forest. If you’ve read my other staycation posts you know this was our twickering adventure.

     Originally we were going to walk from our house to the forest. But Joe had to leave for the airport for 2 P.M. and we weren’t able to leave until 8:30 A.M. So I decided to drive to the forest entrance out by our municipal golf course. It saved us a couple of miles and probably a good half hour both ways.

    Joe , Doug (my father-in-law), and I headed out while the ladies of the house all went shopping.

      When we got to the forest entrance, we headed down the path to where it split. We of course chose the “road less traveled”. This was an adventure after all. We came to the edge of Pearly Brook Pond where we found a foot bridge somebody had left behind. I sent Dad in ahead to test the waters.

“This may be an adventure” I told myself. “But if someone’s going to get wet I hope it’s not me!”

  Well the good news is Doug got to the other side. We all did! The bad news is we ran into a literal wall of horseflies on the other side of the bridge. Just a note, tansy is a pretty good mosquito repellent but it does nothing against horseflies!

    But we were determined. A few biting bugs (O.K. so it was three hundred flesh eating monsters. I felt like I was in a Steven King novel) weren’t going to stop us. We walked on along the revolutionary war era farm roads. We didn’t see any neat birds but we saw some great sights. All along the path huge “widow-makers” loomed threateningly.

    We noted the many fieldstone fences that once marked the boundaries of farms. In several places we found the fence breaks that indicated driveways down into the homesteads of days gone by. I have to bring my friend Lane back to this place to see if we can find the ancient dumps that would have been part of the homesteads. Who knows what neat things we might find?

     We walked well past the Winchendon border. About an hour in we came to a beautiful glade that we decided would be our turning point. The light here filtered through the old growth forest and seemed to push the flies away. But as soon as we turned back the horseflies were back on us. I think they knew we weren’t sticking around because they started to bite.

     Interestingly as soon as we crossed back over that rickety little bridge all the flies disappeared. Weird!

   Before we left the forest,  we stopped by the edge of Pearly Brook Pond for a light lunch. We finished the morning watching for any activity around the numerous Beaver den’s along the edge of the pond. Let me just say even without the birds and with the flies this day was a blast! Definitely a staycation keeper.

Things to Bring With On a Hike:

1. Someone else

2. water

3. non-perishable food

4. a rain poncho

5. small first aid kit

6. pocket knife

7. matches

6. cell phone and whistle