Hike of Douglas State Forest

Douglas, MA

Sunday September 18th, 2005

Hiking group With 4,640 acres of woodland, Douglas State Forest's vast network of hiking and nature trails covers a lot of ground. We began our hike at the Wallum Lake recreation area near the southern end of the forest. When we arrived, the parking lot was packed full of horses from a riding event earlier in the morning.

Climbing granite ridge After a short walk down to the lake, we began our hike on the Cedar Swamp trail...

Granite boulders Evergreen grove ...climbing up and over a granite ledge before descending through an evergreen grove into the depths of a dark cedar swamp.

Swamp floor The swamp's floor was covered with ferns and mossy mounds.

Winding boardwalk Much of the trail was along an elevated boardwalk which wound its way among the trees.

Mushrooms along trail We paused many times to study the eerie landscape, including this very large mushroom.

Coffeehouse loop After emerging from the cedar swamp, we followed the Coffeehouse Loop trail clockwise until it merged with the Midstate Trail (which runs from the Rhode Island Border to the New Hampshire Border).

Studying trail map "Are we lost yet?" With maps and compass in hand, Paula, Betsy and Greg study a trail intersection carefully. A wrong turn would take us miles out of our way.

Midstate Trail We followed the Midstate Trail to the north as it split away from the Coffeehouse loop. It was now a wider wilderness road.

Horse jump Good horse sense? As we turned from the Midstate Trail onto the Streeter Trail, Trevor tries out one of the horse jumps still in place from the morning event.

Evergreen tunnel Light at the end of the tunnel: We pass beneath an evergreen canopy in a heavily shaded section of the Streeter Trail.

Small pond Eventually, we merged back onto the second half of the Coffeehouse Loop; which brought us once again onto a narrow, winding trail. Climbing to the top of a stone embankment above the trail, Trevor, Hilary, Lingyan and Betsy pause to enjoy the tranquility of a small pond on the other side.

The trail led us back to the parking area, by which time all of the horses were gone. We hopped in the van and headed home.

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