As much as I love moving thru snow, I have been grateful for the spring-like conditions this February and have been seizing the opportunity to take a hike without snowshoes, without cross-country skis but on a dry thawed ground without even wearing a coat. A bug even flew by my face in the Fells in late February! It seems as though just as I had purchased my first pair of micro-spikes winter ended.
Between the months of January thru March, I try to plan about three overnight snowboard trips in the winter with my pal, Stud. We have dialed in the deals and have learned how to enjoy our favorite mountains on a budget by booking early, getting 2 for 1 deals and other insider tips on how to ride the lift on the cheap. We have been taking these trips for years often leaving town at 5AM, bringing and cooking all our own food and just having fun outdoorsy vacation time together.
Last week we had plans to go snowboarding in New Hampshire and Vermont. We had a free place to stay and free lift ticket vouchers. We had been watching the weather all week leading up to trip and based on the rain and warm thawing temperatures sweeping across northern New England leaving behind re-frozen icy slopes, we decided to go hiking locally instead. We had both panned to be away for two days so we did like an outdoorsy stay-cation instead!
On Day One we hiked the Skyline Trail in the Middlesex Fells. Its a wonderful 12 mile loop that goes up a few 300 footers with some towers making way to views of Boston and even the sea. The trail also winds around a couple of large reservoirs and there are many spur trails that would allow you to hike closer to the water if you desired. It was a sunny February day in the high 40’s and I was in shorts. I was happy to test out some new-to-me/used gear that I purchased at the REI yard sale a few months ago. I scored a basically brand new Osprey Day pack, a pair of very lightweight and foldable Black Diamond Trekking Poles (which is a huge step up from my chronically broken pairs of Ocean State Job Lot poles), and a pair of convertible hiking pants where the bottoms zip off. Loved all this stuff and it worked great! I will be living in these hiking pants and using my new poles in the LT for sure!!! The Fells Skyline 12-mile loop took us about 4.5 hours. Considering we were very leisurely, taking time to look around and sit down for lunch, I was very happy with our hiking time and felt accomplished despite there not being a lot of elevation gain/loss in comparison with the Blue Hills Skyline Trail.
On Day Two we hiked a 10 mile loopish combination of trails at Wompatuck State Park. There are so many trails here and a very popular place to bike as there are many flat and paved trails as well. We hiked near some old WWII missile depot area where there are supposedly abandoned underground bunkers and various debris and then headed up into the Trustees Reservation area where we hiked up Turkey Hill which gave us incredible views of the sea. Wompatuck is located in Hingham very close to Nantaskit Beach.
There is so much more to explore at both the Middlesex Fells and Wompatuck State Park and I look forward to going back to these places to explore more soon.