Time and distance: 1 hr 33 min and 4.34 miles
One thing I love about hiking with Mom is the fact that there’s something new to explore every time we’re out on the trail. You never know what’s around the bend. This time, we went back to Ponkapoag Pond. Our plan was to find the bridge that goes over the big highway (Route 24).
If you’ve ever gone all around Ponkapoag Pond, you know that part of the main trail is actually a dirt road for cars. So you need to be extra careful. This road takes you to the Appalachian Mountain Club cabins on the east side of the pond. No speeding is allowed, which is too bad. I’m pretty fast.
Mom note: It’s so rare to see a car along this stretch of road that you shouldn’t worry about traffic. There’s a gate, and it’s locked at all times with only people who are staying at the cabins or coming in for the day can drive in.
The ground on the road is packed so hard it almost looks like pavement. Mom loves the look of lots of trees along a trail and likes to take pictures of them with her phone.
It’s hard to get lost at Ponkapoag Pond because the main path is well-marked. If you’re ever wondering if you’re on the right track, look for these dots on trailside trees. If you stay on the green dot trail, you’ll go all around the pond.
My favorite part of hiking the Blue Hills is when we explore side trails like this one. It showed up as a wide path on the trail map but was actually pretty narrow. The tall reeds on the left in the sun tell me it might be a swampy walk.
Goldenrod and cattails were mixed in with the reeds. Look at this pretty butterfly gently flapping its wings while balancing on a flower.
We followed the side trail all the way to where it intersects with the Hemlock Road trail. I could tell we were getting closer to the highway because the car noises were getting louder.
Finally, we found the bridge that would take us over the roadway full of cars! I wonder what is on the other side? And who is Charles L. Bowley?.
Mom notes: According to a 2015 article in a local newspaper, Charles L. Bowley was a dairy farmer who owned land on the other side of this horse bridge. It was built in 2010 specifically to allow horses to cross into the Blue Hills from the farm.
Once across the bridge, the pavement ended, and we were back in the woods. This is the view down the Pipe Line trail on the left. It’s so straight and easy to follow. I thought we were going this way, but mom wanted to meander a bit more, so we kept going to trail marker 5413.
We started noticing a lot of these tracks. Mom says they are from big animals that people ride called horses. I hope we get to see one!
Mom note: Evidence of horse traffic was everywhere on this side of the bridge. And, horseshoe tracks were just the start of it. Piles of horse poop at various stages of “freshness” were plentiful. Luckily, Bella didn’t seem that interested in sniffing the piles, but I had to work hard to steer her away from stepping in them.
We’ve seen these piles of rocks all over the Blue Hills. I wonder who piled them up like that in such a straight line? I bet chipmunks or squirrels live in them. Mom says they’re actually old walls that used to separate farms.
Mom note: I find these ancient rock walls fascinating! They make me wonder what the landscape looked like back when they were built. Imagine all the hard work it took to create these walls with just manpower and animal assistance to make it happen.
Look what we saw—a horse! I wanted to run up and say hello, but Mom thought the horse might get spooked. I couldn’t take my eyes off it and strained at my leash to get a closer look. It was so big!
After we saw the horse, I was thirsty, so we stopped for a drink. Mom had one, too!
Of course, drinking from a stream is soooo much better than drinking from a bowl.
We had such a fun time on this hike. I saw a horse, we figured out where that bridge went, and I played in a stream. All in all, it was a very good day.