Rail Trail Weekend

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.

5 Replies to “Rail Trail Weekend”

  1. Lovely post. I suspect that your rail trail connects with ours. I am not a rail trail fan – in this area they neglected to consider that it passes precisely through breeding and nesting grounds for the Great Blue Herons. The towns are more interested in entertainment for cyclists than in protecting wildlife and nature from human encroachment. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is itself a conflict of interest. Which is the higer priority: human recreation or conservation of nature. They cannot serve two masters. That rant of mine aside, glad you enjoyed your outing on your trail!

    1. I’ll have to think about your comments a bit. To be honest I hadn’t thought about those aspects. Maybe I should have. I worked for the Department of Interior and saw blatant conflict of interest all the time where human recreation was the priority.

  2. I feel that I’m yet a long way from being able to start hiking trails again four months after busting my hip and having partial hip replacement surgery. I still need walking sticks (canes) to get around and I get tired out pretty quickly. And my e-bike has spiderwebs all over it due to lack of use. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to tool around town on my e-bike.

    1. I was told that I’d be fine within six months, but its only now, about ten months out, that I am getting back into it, and I doubt I’ll ever get back to where I was – the arthritis will definitely put a damper on it. I’m going to be interested in what happens with you e-bike when you get back to riding it. My wife is interested in them, and we may get two a bit further out.
      In our seventh decade it takes longer to heal and to regain strength and coordination.

      1. My physical therapist is hoping that by the end of June I’ll be walking without a cane, but I may still have a bit of a limp. That will be almost six months since the hip replacement surgery. I expect it will take some months after that before I’d feel ready to do any hiking. As to the e-bikes we have, we both love riding them, but it may take even longer to get to the point where I’ll be ready to hop back on it. We’ll see.

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