Get Outside Right Now: College Pond
Okay, Weston, consider this a permission slip from your medical professional to drop everything you are doing, and use this gorgeous fall day to soak up autumn and its unique beauty. Blue skies, warmish temperatures (it’s all relative) and the oaks, birches, larches, and maples all agree with me, and no, none of us is actually a medical professional. I am Dr. Get Outside.
Here’s this week’s recommendation (not counting WFTA’s monthly walk on Sunday 11/7): College Pond! Yes, you have missed the apples at the orchard, and no, the trees are not sick. They just gave their all to producing fruit, so their leaves are pretty much gone now.
If you haven’t been to College Pond before, here’s a recommended route. It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes, unless you are goggle-eyed at the fall colors, or you stop for a picnic at the viewpoint at the pond, or you get eaten by beavers (not actually a thing). Make sure you wear your mud-friendly shoes as quite a few of the trails are still mucky from all our recent rain…and our resident beavers continue to be busy and flooding out Cherry Brook. Fortunately, the amazing Rees Tulloss, Conservation Commissioner, has been busy raising the bog bridges so that we can all, fuzzy and non-fuzzy, live together happily.
I like to park in one of the pull-outs on Concord Road, but there is a huge parking lot at Burchard Park and you can just adjust the trails accordingly. I’m starting here at the Apple Orchard explanatory kiosk and heading down the orchard until a mowed path leads you to the College Pond waterside trail.
By taking the left-hand mowed trail, you’ll get to the big rock that overlooks the pond (cover photo) and there is no better place to stop for a sandwich (carry-in, carry out!). Fido may also want to take a swim in this cleanish area of the pond, or if you’re Katie Puppy, K9 Ranger, studiously avoid that water.
While I wish I had the time to give you all the stops on the way, the Owl actually has some real work to do (oh all right, I want to get out there myself) so let’s just say: follow the yellow line much like Dorothy and enjoy narrow trails, carriage roads, and the Troll Bridge! You’ll see there an explanatory sign on the beaver busy-ness.
After the Troll Bridge, you’ll take a right down a narrow trail with huge white pines, then past a wetlands pool and bench, and wander up to Merriam Street’s sidewalk. Once you’re on the sidewalk, you can jump back into the conservation area right before the “onion field” near the entrance for Leaftopia. You’ll soon find yourself near the ruins for Merriam Barn which are starting to appear out of the invasives, thanks to an Eagle Scout candidate.
Just past the Merriam Barn ruins, you’ll pass my favorite huge old sugar maples–three of them, one nearly hollowed up but still putting out leaves every year. Yes, they are mostly done with their fall display.
You’re back at the start of the loop now, and may have to go back to work. Do it again.