A couple of weekends ago we set off on another Quabbin adventure. This summer we decided to broaden our horizons and find some new paths in the Quabbin. There are a limited number of paths for biking (most are reserved for hiking only). We had never been to the far eastern edge, so we set out for Gate 43. We didn’t realize that Gate 43 is actually one of the few boating gates, so there was some car traffic, but we went anyway.
The first part was paved – it’s about a mile-long ride to the water, where we found a lovely picnic bench to eat our lunch away from the boat dock. The day was a little chilly, but the kids ran around and we enjoyed a leisurely picnic. This was the view:
From there, we crossed a little bridge and continued on to the part of the trail that’s closed to cars. The hills went up and down and up and down. This is what it looked like:
We went on for another mile, maybe a mile and a half, and stopped at the top of a big hill. We decided to turn around at that point – I really didn’t relish the idea of pulling Aaron back up that hill in the trailer. But Lydia, little Miss Lydia wanted to go down that super long hill soooooo bad. We explained that any hill we go down, we have to go back up. She said she understood that, but she really wanted to go down the hill. “Well,” we said, “OK, go ahead. We’ll wait here.” So down she went, shrieking with glee all the way. And then she got to the bottom and looked back up at us. Her little face fell, and wouldn’t you know it she cried all the way back up. We had little to no sympathy.
On the way back, we made a couple of good finds. First, Jake spotted a stand of wild-growing concord grapes. We all stopped and ate heartily. They were very ripe, juicy, and delicious. I’m sure they are left over from someone’s garden in the the 1930s – why else would they be there in the middle of the woods?
The other fun find was a little snake. Jake suddenly screeched to a halt, almost causing a four bike pile-up. He said, “SNAKE!” We all looked in front of his bike, and there was a tiny little snake, probably eight inches if it stretched out. It had red, black, and tan markings on its back, and it was coiled up and on the defensive. We all gathered around to look at it and it tried to strike at our sneakers. This little snake was fierce! Nate had the brilliant idea to get a stick and move it off the road before one of the boaters came along and flattened the poor thing. I got a not great picture, because honestly I was a teeny bit scared of it. That’s how fierce this tiny snake was.
All in all, we had a great time at this gate, and will do it again sometime. It’s about an hour’s drive to get over there, but it was beautiful and quite the adventure.