A Pigeon Named Richard
Middlesex fells, june 16th 2018
In case anyone was in doubt about or otherwise unconvinced by the upsurge in humidity, allergies, and awkward sunburn lines, I am here to put out a public service announcement: Summer is here, people – and that means Mass Hike is back on the road!
The morning of the hike dawned muggy and bright. I met my friend Matthew and new Mass Hike director Molly at Ruggles Station just before noon, and before long, our jovial Safeway driver Bob picked us up. Amid a flurry of introductions, we roared away to Brookline, Cambridge, and Medford to pick up, respectively, Bishnu and her son, Michelle and her group, and Rachelle, our marketing and development officer (and all-around cool person).
Although we led a Mass Hike trip to Middlesex Fells last November, the reservation is so large and chock-full of beautiful trails that I knew we just had to return. After a short drive northward, Bob dropped us off at the parking lot near one of the many trailheads. We soon picked up the trail and set off. Gosh, what a sight for sore eyes! After a few weeks in the city, it was such a relief to get out among the trees again.
Bishnu and her 6-year-old son had hiked with us before, and that kid is quick as a whip. He soon picked up on how to follow trail markings and bounded ahead – although I just as quickly regretted teaching him this, as he set a punishing pace!
An unspoken competition soon arose among our group regarding, of all things, who could find the best walking stick. Although Matthew offered a serious contender in the form of his “wizard’s staff” (sorry Matthew), I think Rachelle may have scraped a win with her mottled but sturdy cane. A hardcore power-pose photoshoot ensued.
Second PSA: the wildlife is rampant this time of year. The trail got pretty buggy in sections and we all but doused ourselves in OFF!. Several birds also flew across our path, and I suggested we name them. Without missing a beat, Bishnu’s son replied: “That’s Richard.” The next two feathered guys? “Jeremy, and Tina.” Molly and I cracked up at that. The final piece of wildlife we encountered was actually a very friendly state trooper. He got out of his patrol car to chat with us, and was impressed (as were we!) when the kindergartner in our party effortlessly read the writing on his vehicle: “Massachusetts 1780.” Oh! And how could I forget Major – Michelle’s beautifully behaved chihuahua puppy? He was easily the cutest portion of wildlife we saw.
At this point in the trip log, I usually talk about my favorite part of the hike; today though, I’d like to include our director Molly’s favorite part. Towards the end of the hike, we were walking in the middle of the group. In front of us, Bishnu was playing music from her home country of Nepal, and behind us, Michelle and her group were listening to Beyonce. “I just though it was a really cool moment,” Molly said to me later. “The whole point of Mass Hike is to drive a bunch of different people, people who might not have otherwise met, outside of the city, and enjoy nature together.”
Middlesex Fells is a great destination if you’re looking for easy to moderate wooded trails that will make you feel as though you’re a hundred miles from the city. I had a ton of fun on this hike, and can’t wait for Mass Hike’s next trip!