Evening hike of Massachusetts Central Rail Trail

West Boylston, MA

Sunday September 11th, 2005

Rail Trail The movement to convert old abandoned railroad corridors into hiking and bicyling trails began quietly in the 1960s, but has gathered a lot of steam since then. A prime example is the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail, being constructed on a rail bed which once extended 104 miles from Boston to Northampton. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1938.

River The West Boylston section of this trail parallels the Quinapoxet River, a beautiful waterway which feeds the Wachusett Reservoir. While it looks fairly tame here, it's rapids can be very impressive after a good rain storm or during spring snow melt.

Standing next to the riverbed Five of us explored this trail and its various attractions in a relaxing, Sunday evening hike.

Mill site marker We followed the trail for about 1.5 miles into Holden, where we came upon the remains of the old 19th century Springdale Wolllen Mill.

Viewing the remains The mill site has been transformed into an outdoor historical museum, with many plaques explaining what each building had been used for. Click here if you want to read this one along with us.

Turbine This turbine is among the remains at the mill. We spent a little more time checking out the rest of the remains as darkness set in, and then hiked back to the trailhead under a moonlit sky.

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