Alexis and Behr hiking in Middlesex Fells in Boston

Winter in Middlesex Fells

A quick winter hike in Middlesex Fells just outside of Boston, MA. This hike was on Crystal Springs Trail on the Stoneham / Melrose side of Middlesex Fells. [trail map] This short local hike helped us enjoy some time outdoors with our dog.


Stone Zoo Boston lite up for Christmas Zoolights

Zoolights

During December, The Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA sets up an event called Zoolights. They decorate the Zoo with Christmas lights and many decorations. My boyfriend and I visited, we had some hot chocolate, fried dough, and walked around. First we saw a lynx and an owl, then visited with a reindeer, the Santa’s Village set up, Canadian Flamingos and a few other animals including a baby sloth and it’s parents.


Owner walks dog and lizard in his neighborhood

The Animals Settle In

Moving the animals twice within a month of each other was quite confusing for them, but they've settled into our new home and are loving it.

beautiful home just outside of Boston

Behr is happy to have a yard to run around in and a bigger house to explore. He's also much closer to a few trails and state parks that allow dogs. He's a happy dog so it doesn't take much to please him but I'd like to think it was more than that.

goofy pet dog sleeping at the top of stairs

 

goofy pet dog Stretching at the top of stairs
goofy pet dog stretching at the top of stairs

Behr was unhappy with us for a while though, he only has one bed and in Allston we moved it from room to room for him, but at our new house we left it in the bedroom. Sometimes he'd want his bed so bad he'd go upstairs without us. For a dog who follows anyone who's moving around that is saying something. After he completed a difficult and long hike this past weekend (more posts on this after I finish editing the photos!) we thought he deserved a new bed for down stairs and he can't get enough of it.

Simba was the most nervous at first. He even slept under the bed instead of on it for almost a month. Now he happily runs around the house and spends time sitting on the chairs and floors in every room and takes up all our foot space on the bed again.

Long haired golden pet cat on stairs

Grizzy was an easy transition and a pretty good natured guy. When we take him out and let him run around in a still empty living room though he gets mad at the curious dog and cat who keep approaching him. He's gotten to play outside and go on walks with us since it's summer.

bearded dragon riding owners shoulder while on a walk

bearded dragon rides on owners back while on walk

Gizmo is still adjusting, she's active at all different times of day much earlier than usual. We have lots of sun in the new house and are still trying to find the best place so she can sleep through the day.

We also found a couple outdoor cats visiting our backyard.

Pet Sugar Glider legs and feet climbing their cage

Outdoor cats visit our back yard

 

 


Trees growing out of rocks in the spring

5/15 Gooch Caves

I have some exciting news, that is also why I haven't posted in so long, last week we found out we will be moving into a new home at the end of June and have to start packing to move our of our apartment by the end of May! While we are very excited we have a lot to do very quickly so I may be short on posts for a while.

That said, this past Sunday Amanda, Wruggles, and I took a short walk at to the Gooch Cavesas Amanda called it in Hammond Pond Reservation, near Boston College and Newton Centre. We parked by the theatre at Hammond Pond and headed into the woods. We walked a bit in this part of the woods, passing climbers and other people walking their dogs, and lots of rock, trees, and swamp or marsh areas.

Walking trail in Newton, MA
A branch near the bottom of a tree turns growing into a rock

Eventually we got to the road, Hammond Pond Parkway and crossed before the train tracks. Once we crossed the street we quickly found the Gooch Caves, a bunch of rocks that had fallen and broken in ways that formed little caves. Here we explored the different caves. We found trees growing on top of the rocks and one had a branch growing out from the bottom of it that ended in rock. We also ran into a dead rabbit before continuing our walk.

Tree roots in beautiful patterns coming out of the ground
Amanda walking her dog Ruggles in the woods

As we continued to walk we decided to turn in that way that seemed to be  circle so we wouldn't get lost. We ran into a well laid path and found it lead to another parking lot, wishing to continue our walk we headed back into the woods.

Ruggles the dog hiking in the woods climbing rocks
Tree leaves blowing in the breeze

We immediately ran into more large rock formations which we followed Wruggles up. On top we found more than we expected, it was not rock alone but it's own little environment up there with lots of small trees, grass, and moss. While on top of the rocks the tops of trees were much closer but while one side of the rock seemed well above the ground the other side met it easily. If we had come from the other direction we might not have thought it was a significant rock formation.

Fallen tree with moss growth and a new tree springing from it

After we climbed down we noticed we were close to the road again but first we stumbled upon a fallen tree and saw quite literally how things return to the earth and bring new life. There was a baby tree growing right out of the fallen tree and strangely enough it was covered in wreath leaves around the bottom. Moss had also made its home all along the length of the fallen tree and it looked a bit like a path as your eye followed it along the trunk.

After spending some time here we continued back across the street again and back to the car.

Below you can see a map, taken from google, that estimates the path we took.

Google Map of walk to Gooch Caves in Newton

© 2015 Google Inc, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.


Behr and Ruggles the dogs walking around Middlesex Fells

4/10 at Middlesex Fells

As I mentioned in the previous post, this past Sunday Amanda and I took Behr and Ruggles to hike Middlesex Fells. We had planned to go out Sunday after Saturdays walk but hadn't chosen a location. Earlier in the day Sunday I had been driving by and noticed the waterfall at the Fells. Given the heavy rain that had happened recently I knew that it was likely at a high flow compared to summer and wanted to check it out before it tapered off.

So we headed out and parked on a side street off Washington St in Melrose, MA. We grabbed the dogs and walked right over to the waterfall called The Cascades and hung out for a bit. I took a bunch of photos and we just sat and enjoyed the sound of the water falling.

The Cascades waterfall at Middlesex Fells Boston
The Cascades waterfall at Middlesex Fells Boston
The Cascades waterfall at Middlesex Fells Boston

We saw a few trails that seem to head up into the park, we decided to take the unmarked trail that looked a bit like stairs heading up towards the top of the falls. Behr was always getting in front of us and had to run back to walk the same ways as us.

The Cascades waterfall at Middlesex Fells Boston
Behr the dog walking around Middlesex Fells

When we reached the top we found the stream that fed the waterfall and it was very small, hard to believe it split over the large rock and fell in so many different directions with any amount of force. We crossed a little bridge and continued our exploration. We found the trails rather quickly and decided to take the paths that always went up.

Behr and Ruggles the dogs walking around Middlesex Fells
Behr the dog walking around Middlesex Fells

We let the dogs run ahead of us so they would pull us up the hills and rocks and they had some fun. We came to a rock with a beautiful view of the Medford, Melrose, Malden areas outside of Boston and stopped for a short rest to enjoy the view.

Amanda and Ruggles the dog hiking Middlesex Fells Boston

We then climbed a few more rock and circled back to the waterfall where we enjoyed a few more quiet moments and headed back home.

Behr the dog walking around Middlesex Fells

This is a quick guess of about where we hiked in the Fells.

GoogleMaps_MiddlesexFells_4/10

© 2015 Google Inc, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.


Moss, Tree roots, Rock, creating beautiful patterns at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

4/9 at the Arnold Arboretum

This weekend I actually did some hiking/nature walks both days so I'll have two posts for you! While it wasn't the warmest weekend in this New England spring it was nice and sunny. My friend Amanda and I took our dogs, Ruggles and Behr, to the Arnold Arboretum on Saturday and Middlesex Fells on Sunday. This post will be about Saturday at the Arnold Arboretum.

We parked by the entrance to Peter Hill and decided to start there, we walked right up the hill and got a pretty view of Boston. We then wandered around the hill at a leisurely pace. While on one of the paths we found a Sequoia from Asia and I noticed some other interesting trees and a little puddle of water near by. We drifted over to take a look at the trees and the water, as we assumed it might not look the same again, the water was likely because of the recent heavy rain.

Waterhole and beautiful tree in the spring in Boston

While by these beautiful trees and their reflections in the water we ran into a little boy and his mom, he was confused by my position while taking photos. I was lying on the ground shooting up, as I often do, and he came over and said hello. We decided to keep walking after a little bit. I can be a little annoying to hike or walk with if you want constant movement as I'm always stopping to take some photos so I try not to stop for too long. The boy and his mom also continued walking and he ran right up to us and tried to say hi to the dogs. Ruggles is a little shy so Behr said hello.

After we finished walking around Peter Hill we decided to check out more of the park since we hadn't gone too far. We both hadn't realized it but the other entrance we were near featured all of our favorite spots (well, those we'd discovered before, since neither of us has seen the whole park) which was exciting. First we followed a stream a bit further down and then realized it was the location where a bridge went over the stream and there were some small rapids in the stream.

Stone pathway in the Arboretum in Boston
Moss, Tree roots, Rock, creating beautiful patterns at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

We kept stopping to look at all the mossy exposed roots of trees by the stream. When we crossed the bridge we were happily surprised to find a hill covered in the same moss, exposed roots, and rock which made for some beautiful and very green scenery.

Moss, Tree roots, Rock, creating beautiful patterns at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

Moss and Rock at the arboretum in Boston
Moss, Tree roots, Rock, creating beautiful patterns at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

It was slippery to get up the hill and pretty steep so we didn't go all the way up with the dogs. After we came down we went back across the bridge and continued. We immediately came upon a favorite tree of Amanda's, that little blue flowers grow under.

Purple flowers in the spring at the arnold Arboretum in Boston
Moss, Tree roots, Rock, creating beautiful patterns at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston

And here's a silly one of Behr because he's cute.

Behr the dog having fun hiking

If you're looking to find some of the same spots we did, here's a map of our walk.

Walk in the arnold Arboretum on a map

© 2015 Google Inc, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.


Mickey my neighbors little Shitzu as a puppy, he has a cute over bite and a bump on his nose.

First Photography "Portfolio"

At the end of the two week photography summer class I took at CDIA before my junior  year of high school (which I mentioned in an earlier post) we put together our favorite images from the class in a portfolio and learned a bit about printing as well. My favorite photos included mostly flowers and animals, not a surprise as that is what I loved and was easy to find, some others also included favorites from vacations.

Flowers

Flowers

Most of opportunities for taking photos while in this short class came from being outside in my neighborhood and from field trips we took in class. The flower photos were all taken in my mother's many gardens (10 or more!), while the frog I found in my neighbors man-made Coy Pond. I have always loved nature and being outside so it was natural to try to capture what I saw.

Mickey my neighbors little Shitzu as a puppy, he has a cute over bite and a bump on his nose.

I also took some photos of my neighbors new puppy, a little Shitzu they named Mickey because they love disney. I snapped this shot of the cute little bump on his nose and his overbite while he was play with my 85 lb dog, Buddy! They were an odd match but quickly became fast friends, to this day Mickey will run up to my parents house looking for Buddy though he has been gone for several  years.

Boats in Edgartown Harbor Martha's Vineyard.

Rock Balancing on the beach at Martha's Vineyard.

Later in the summer I added a few new photos from our yearly vacation to Martha's Vineyard to my portfolio. When I was younger we visited Martha's Vineyard every year for 1-2 weeks and stayed at my uncles house in Edgartown. I took many photos photos but I especially liked the photo of the sail boats in Edgartown harbor and rock balancing I found on the beach. I can't remember if this photo was taken in the sand dunes by where we went cohoging or near Chappaquiddick while driving on the dunes before the sand bar connecting it to Martha's Vineyard was destroyed. I also took many photos of the ginger bread cottages and of course the miniature horses I mentioned before.

Blue Gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs Martha's Vineyard

White and Pink Gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs Martha's Vineyard

 


Happy Dog

Hiking 3/09: Middlesex Fells

This post is a little late but since I knew I'd be missing this past Sunday's hike (March 13th) and Wednesday March 9th was going to be 70 degrees in New England I just had to go hiking. Since I didn't want to take a full day off work we stayed local. I went with my boyfriend Alexis and our dog Behr. We parked in the same parking lot as last time by Flynn Rink and used the same entrance to the park, but we turned left immediately instead of right.

walshmsw_photo_MiddlesexFells_BehrAlexis1
walshmsw_photo_MiddlesexFells_Rocks

Since I knew that Rock Circuit Trail gained the most elevation we took that trail. We came across a few fallen trees and bridges along the way. It was hard to get Behr to take the small bridges instead of going through the mud so he ended up a little dirty. We had Behr play around with walking on 3 different fallen trees. The first fallen tree fell right across our path and was just one normal tree. The second we found broke in a very cool way, you could walk in part of the middle of the tree by the stump. The third was a few trees attached to a large piece of displaced earth and we tried to get Behr to walk on a higher branch but he quickly lost his balance and we kept walking. We also found a tree with a hollow base and stuck Behr through the hole for some photos, I might have to revisit that tree for some other photos too!

Eventually we started gaining in elevation, and reached a higher point. At this location we stopped for a minute to give Behr some water. The moss covered rocks, the fallen pine needles, a view of only trees around us, and the breeze made for a very serene stop. Then a runner passed by us on the trail ending the spell and we kept walking. After a while hiking we decided it was getting late, and close to rush hour traffic, so we should try to find the fastest path back to our parking lot.

walshmsw_photo_MiddlesexFells_BehrAlexis2

I pulled out my Maplets app with the Middlesex Fells Reservation Map open and tried to figure out the quickest path back was. We found the orange path which connected to the blue path was the fastest way back. We quickly found the orange path but got turned around figuring out the blue path but eventually found our way back.

walshmsw_photo_MiddlesexFells_Behr2

Based on using My Map by Google Maps we walked about 2.7 miles in just under 2 hours. The actual walk highlighted here is a little shorter, we took a few detours by accident.

Map of our hike in Middlesex Fells

© 2015 Google Inc, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

I used Google Maps - My  Map (https://www.google.com/maps/d/) to create the above map.


Rock balancing in in woods while on a hike

Sunday Hiking: Middlesex Fells

I hope to find the time and go on some kind of hike or walk every Sunday with reasonable weather and shot a few photos, even if they aren't particularly interesting. Just to get outside, get some exercise, and play with my camera. If I stick to it you will see a hiking post every Monday. The photos here are from the first of my Sunday hikes.


For the first Sunday hike I went with my friend Rachel. We didn't have much time as we both had family parties later in the day, so we decided to stay local but go to a park we hadn't tried before. We chose a parking lot that seemed easy to find and meet at, the Flynn Rink parking lot. Of course when we got there that particular lot was very full from all the kids who play hockey, but we got lucky and there was a small lot just up the street we could park at.

Small bridge over water on the Woodlawn Trail in Middlesex Fells Reservation.

We had some trouble deciding which path to try first so we went with the one that looked like you might gain more elevation for a more challenging hike. We started by just following a trail right off the road marked in blue, called Woodland Path. We eventually came to another road through the park, Fellsway E, and decided to find a path that headed back in the direction we came.

I pulled out my Maplets app with the Middlesex Fells Reservation Map open and tried to figure out where the path marked in white, which appeared to head back the way we'd come, was. We found it quite by accident when we decided to climb some rocks for fun but we turned ourselves around and ended up by the road again. Eventually we found the correct direction to walk on Rock Circuit Trail to head back towards our parking lot.

Once we got on the Rock Circuit Trail in that area we saw a few beautiful hazy views of Boston.

View of Boston in Middlesex Fells on the Rock Ridge Trail.

Pinecones by the old Observation Foundation in Middlesex Fells Reservation

Along the way back we found part of an old stone foundation which is all that left of the old observation tower. A friend had mentioned it's existence to me previously as I am always looking for locations to shoot photos but had suggested I might not find it quickly as the park is very large. So I was pleasantly surprised we happened upon it on our first hike in the park. When we found the foundation we also found people had stopped and done some rock balancing and created a sundial here as well. While I wasn't expecting to find the foundation so easily, I really was not expecting to find more than just the foundation when I came to it. This made the area all the more intriguing and exciting to find. We stopped to take a few photos and stopped again a little further along the path when we found a grove of trees covered in pinecones.

Rock balancing in in woods while on a hike

Pinecones in a trees in Middlesex Fells Reservation

Google Map of my hike in Middlesex Fells Reservation, MA Based on my friends fitbit we climbed up 54 flights of stairs (540 feet) and based on using My Map by Google Maps we walked about 2.7 miles in just under 2 hours. The actual walk highlighted here is a little shorter, we took a few detours by accident that added about 0.3 - 0.5 miles to the trip.

 

Google Map of my hike in Middlesex Fells Reservation, MA

© 2015 Google Inc, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

I used Google Maps - My  Map (https://www.google.com/maps/d/) to create the above map.

 


Boston Public Garden pond suitcases at a pench

Boston Fall 2015

I’ve lived my whole life in the Boston area and I have to say fall truly is beautiful here. Of course, I am a bit biased, but Boston is rich in history, add a little fall color, and you have some beautiful photos. During this past fall some friends were visiting from California who had never been to Boston before so we visited all the tourist spots and, if I’m being honest, I probably looked more like a tourist then they did! The fall colors we’re so striking I couldn’t help myself. I was just clicking away with my camera the whole time.

Boston Public Garden pond suitcases at a pench
These lone suitcases just waiting at a bench in the Boston Public Gardens on a beautiful fall day remind me to travel and see the beauty where ever you go, even if you have to leave your luggage behind.

We started in the Boston Public Garden; which was created in 1837 on 24 acres of old marsh land. Where we visited the Make Way for Ducklings statues that are in honor of the children’s book by Robert McCloskey. We then made our way through Boston Common, past the MA State House, through the Holocaust Memorial, to the Harbor, and ended at Mike’s Pastries in the North end for one of their coveted cannoli’s.

Boston MA State House
This image of Boston's MA State House, just makes me laugh. I love it. I love what it says about Boston, that in the middle of the city there is still nature, and trees!

You can find more photos on my facebook page: facebook.com/mswphoto