|Striped Maple, Quabbin parking lot, Shutesbury Rd 2|
While I was waiting for the Uber car, a women from the neighborhood walked by and we struck up a conversation. She said there was a moose in her driveway when she woke up that morning. Wow.
I had my dog with me and made a point to let the woman know I'm wasn't going north into the Quabbin section with the dog, because I know dogs aren't allowed. She pointed towards the trail and said, "That's not Quabbin, Quabbin is on the other side of 202." She's not the first person to tell me that. I also noticed there were no signs of any kind at the parking area or the trailhead. I explained that I discovered quite by accident online that the area west of 202 is Quabbin "Off-Reservation" and the rule is no dogs on the trail, and this is a problem because Quinn is my hiking buddy when I'm hiking alone. And she said, "Nobody goes in there. What are they gonna do, anyway, give you a ticket?" But it's a moot point, because I've already made plans for that section that don't include the dog. Let me just say that I hope they change the rules to allow dogs on the NET at Quabbin, or at least come up with a special permit you can apply for if you're hiking through. One thing people should have learned from Katrina is that dogs are family members. I'm not out walking my dog. My dog is my hiking companion and protector. He may look small, but he's a terrier, and he's tough.
|Sections 9b-11. Major road walks are in red. |
The old M-M route is in green (parts are closed).
Amherst is off to the left and the water at right is Quabbin Reservoir.
Click map to enlarge.
Section 10 Prelude: Let me back up. Before dropping off my car, I sampled a bit of the old M-M route to see what I would be missing during my long boring road walk (maybe 3.5 miles) on Section 10. On the map above, the old M-M route is shown as a thin green line. Parts of that are closed, and other parts seem to be open, but with the blazes covered over. There seems to be general confusion about what the status of the M-M trail is. Internet chatter is that a large landowner closed off their properties after the trail became a national scenic trail because they don't like the federal government. The NET and old M-M routes diverge temporarily during Section 10, but then diverge more substantially between Sections 11 and 14, where the trail was rerouted onto Quabbin lands.
I parked at a place called Holland Glen on the east side of Rt 9. There was a sign showing the old route with a break where the trail is closed. I went down the trail about a quarter of a mile, following blazes that had been recently covered up with gray spray paint. So...is it the M-M or isn't it? Is the M-M now on the new NET? I really don't understand. (By the way, just a tip for whoever is covering over the old blazes: Use camo green. It's nearly invisible on mossy trees).
|M-M trailhead sign. The NET follows Gulf Road instead.|
The cascades and falls of the stream at Holland Glen were pretty much dried up due to the drought, but it's clearly a lovely place. This is a section I hope can be reopened in the future if the landowner has a heart.
|Dried up falls at Holland Glejn|
|White blazes covered up on the old M-M|
After sampling the old M-M, I stashed a 2-liter bottle of water at the Scarborough Brook Conservation District at the top of Gulf Road. I can't rely on water anywhere due to the serious drought. The spot turned out to be good for stashing things, so I unloaded about half my pack contents (tent, extra water bottles, clothing) and left it there hidden in the weeds.
|Stashed some water and pack items here at Scarborough Brook Conservation District|
NET Section 9b: So although I left the house at 6:00 am, I wasn't dropped off by the Uber driver until 9:45 am. I had a bit of trouble finding the trailhead on Bay Road, but after pulling out a map and actually looking at it I finally figured it out. It's funny how that works. Do not rely on blazing for the road walks. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't.
|Trailhead at Bay Road, Section 9|
It was wonderful to finally get started hiking. This is the second half of Section 9, about a mile and half, and it's lovely. No trap rock, just some rolling hills and forest.
|Sign on Federal Street|
|Stream along Gulf Road.|
|Scarborough Brook Conservation Area|
|Biggest patch of Stiff Aster in bloom I've ever seen.|