Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Fall Walk in the Woods, Myles Standish State Forest, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth is almost 15,000 acres of trees, trails, campgrounds, and ponds managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). It is the largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. There are five camping areas, either in the forest or set beside four of the park's sixteen ponds, including an area set aside specifically for horse camping (with their humans partners I presume).  One of the day-use ponds offers picnicking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. There are 15 miles of bicycle trails, 35 miles of equestrian trails and 13 miles of hiking trails through the forest, which includes one of the largest contiguous pitch pine/scrub oak communities north of Long Island in New York.

The fall color is spreading slowly south through New England now reaching the southeastern part of Massachusetts.

This seems more spring-like to me but, it is flowering in the fall.

A bit of red punctuates the green of the pines.

Near the Headquarters building at East Head Reservoir, there is a pleasant walking trail that circles the reservoir.  It's about three miles around, mostly flat with some gentle rolling terrain.  I found the east side of it more pleasant - quieter with nature sounds, a wider trail with mostly softer crushed pine needles underfoot. The north and west sides are closer to the road and I could hear car sounds.

On this particular fall weekday, I did not encounter any other human on the trail. In a couple of the marshy and damp areas there was a narrow boardwalk. Note that from October through March orange/high-visibility clothing is required due to various hunting seasons.

This is a portion of the "heart healthy trail" around the reservoir.  I always enjoy that spongy underfoot pine needle bed to walk on - much better than gel shoe inserts.

But beware of roots - it is a forest after all.

The trail circumnavigates the East Head Reservoir returning back to the start.  And that reminds me of a story.  Thirty years ago as an air traffic controller in Santa Monica, California, I overhead a Cessna aircraft pilot make a radio request to a fellow controller "to circumnavigate the airport," - a fairly standard request.  The controller's reply was not so standard.  He said, "Cessna XXX, cleared to circumcise the airport as requested." The radio frequency was very quiet for a few seconds - no doubt because all the pilots listening on the radio frequency were cracking up with laughter - as were the rest of us in the control tower that day.  Since that event, I have been plagued because anyone's use of the word "circumnavigate" always reminds me of something else.............

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