This was a rail trail weekend for us. On Saturday, we hiked along a trail linking Ayer, Massachusetts, and Groton, and on Sunday, we walked the Bruce Freeman Rail trail in Concord. Between arthritis and hip replacement, the more strenuous sort of rough trail hiking that we used to do is problematic, but a rail trail offers the perfect compromise. You are out in the countryside hiking, but the surface is regular. All that was needed was a pair of sturdy walking shoes, water, a cane, and the bold guide dog – Max, the trailblazer, to guide you along the way. Max was there to protect against wayward red squirrels and the occasional rabid frog. He insisted that following him was the only way to avoid extinction at the paws of other hiking dogs who needed to be greeted in the prescribed doggy manner of a whoof and a sniff.
On the Bruce Freeman Trail, there is a section of very fragile marsh and swamp habitat. The local Concord Middle School provided informative signage on the types of plants and wildlife that could be seen. The bikers speeding by missed the clever artwork and brief descriptions, and by doing that, I think, reduced their experience. The signs were creative, attractive, and informative, and I found them interesting parts of the rail trail experience.