About walkcapeann

Although the idea for this blog first came to mind during a conversation I had with someone at The Trustees of Reservations about doing volunteer work to help promote TTOR events on Cape Ann, my ultimate goal is to provide a blog that's equally useful both to frequent hikers and people simply trying to be more active or enjoy the outdoors. More importantly, I want to remind people how beautiful Cape Ann is :) I fell in love with the ocean, the salt marsh, the rocky coastline, and the tidal rivers when I first came to Crane Beach three years ago, and I moved up here soon afterwards. Cape Ann has remained remarkably unspoiled considering its proximity to Boston, and that's in large part due to the land conservation efforts of TTOR and other groups. My hope is that kids now in preschool will, when they grow up, be able to visit the same unspoiled parks, reservations, and beaches that we all enjoy today.

Hope for snow so Feb. 4-5 can go to the dogs!

One of the most popular events during the year at Appleton Farms is the New England Sled Dog races! If you can make it up to Ipwsich that weekend, I HIGHLY recommend it. I’ve been dogsledding myself in NH, and it was amazing. The dogs have so much fun and are so intelligent, energetic, and spirited! I can’t believe I can see this locally without having to trek up some treacherous backwoods roads 🙂

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Appleton Farms, Ipswich, first snow of 2012.

Lots of people took advantage of the gorgeous sunny afternoon today to cross country ski, snowshoe, or walk the many trails at Appleton Farms, one of the TTOR properties close to where I live. We saw many animal tracks in the snow (mouse, coyote), and some of the Appleton herd of Jersey cows were out getting some fresh air as well! They were gathered on top of a steep hill, and it was funny to picture for a moment “If cows could ski,” sort of like a bear on ice skates! Everywhere we went we walked through open spaces, sunny trails, past fields and hay. The trails go into the woods at some points, but most are open, which is PERFECT on such a cheerful sunny day in the middle of January, when you really want to soak up as much sun as possible! This would be such a great place to go if you have cross country skis. It’s almost made for it (just watch out for rocks on the trail in such shallow snow).

 

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Protect and Enjoy

“Simply protecting land is not enough. As an organization, we always want people to have the opportunity to connect to the land through direct experience, and to become our partners in caring for it.”

 — Jennifer Dubois, The Trustees of Reservations

I couldn’t agree more with this statement! I think the best and most gratifying way to get people to care about the environment is to create ways for us all to share the beauty of nature in our everyday lives. Whether it’s through fun activities for families, beaches, hiking or mountain biking trails, bird watching, or enjoying locally grown food, encouraging the formation of genuine connections between people and the land is the surest way not only to protect our future but to enrich all of our lives. Although I grew up in a family that cared about nature, wildlife, and land conservation, I’ve become more passionate about these issues over the years as I’ve discovered my passion for kayaking, hiking, and spending time outdoors. The more something becomes a vital, happy part of your daily life, the more invested you become 🙂

The pictures in the slideshow are from the Riverbend trail in West Newbury, along the Indian and Merrimac Rivers.

As we walked along the river trails we constantly heard the loud cracking and snapping of the ice breaking apart. Sometimes bigger chunks would make a scraping noise as they slid down other pieces, and splash into the water. In the cold brisk air, the ice cracking broke the stillness and quiet with a sometimes eerie, sometimes musical quality. Even in winter, when things around us appear dormant, there’s always something to watch or hear that surprises or captivates me. From where we parked our cars, the landscape looked stagnant and silent. But up close it wasn’t that way at all. It was violent and loud and beautiful.

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West Newbury Trails

http://westnewburyopenspace.net/WestNewbury_OpenSpace_PhotoJournal.htm

Check out these photos (the one below is also from their website,not mine) of the trails along the Great Marsh outside Newburyport. The project was completed by the town of West Newbury with help from some great volunteers. I didn’t even know this place existed 🙂  Isn’t it the best feeling when you just “discover” someplace new right in your own backyard? Time to explore!!

Bald Hill in Boxford.

This place is awesome! Tall rocky ravines sheltering leafy hollows; little streams, vernal pools, and small ponds winding across and between the trails; brilliant neon green moss; wastelands of dead trees knee-deep in dark swamps swathed in cloudy ice; beaver-sharpened tree stumps and trunks shaved of bark; tons of steep hills opening into sunlit clearings; the sounds of running water and wind in the treetops and birds, but not a single noise from a car or a house. It was like tramping through a hidden world. I already want to go back.

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