Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eastern Middlesex Fells, Medford and Stoneham

photo of High Service Reservoir, Middlesex Fells, Stoneham, MAMost people in the Boston area think of Stoneham and Medford simply as bedroom communities north of Boston, but for those who love outdoors, a good chunk of these two communities is considered prime hiking territory, thanks to the area known as the Middlesex Fells Reservation. The eastern part of the Fells (the part east of Route 93 that is mostly in Stoneham and Medford) is a bit smaller than the western part, but some of the most beautiful parts of the reservation are here, including a number of rocky hills, the scenic High Service Reservoir (see photo), and some of the most pristine woods inside Route 128.

photo of Eastern Middlesex fells, Medford, MASeveral of us explored a large section of the Eastern Middlesex Fells over the weekend, enjoying the deep blue skies and mild late winter weather. We started at the Flynn Rink on Woodland Road in Medford and proceeded up to the aforementioned High Service Reservoir before descending into a beautiful wooded ridge with a stream running through it (see photo) before heading north into an area of low hills and pine forests.

photo of Spot Pond, Middlesex Fells, Stoneham, MALeaving the woods near the Stone Zoo on Pond Street in Stoneham, we briefly hiked near the road before re-entering the woods and ascending a rocky trail that afforded tremendous views of Spot Pond (see photo). The trail continued over several ledges before dipping back into some deep woods and continuing south, eventually bringing us back to the serene Quarter Mile Pond and the Flynn Rink.

This northern and western part of the Eastern Middlesex Fells isn't as rugged as the southern and eastern sections, but it is peaceful and lesser traveled, and is a great place to hike in the winter and early spring, especially when the trails can get a bit icy or muddy.

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