In one of my previous blogs, I had stated that I could not find any good hiking trails around the metrowest area. However, I have recently come to realize that while there may not be any mountains around, there are plenty of scenic trails to walk on. One especially pleasant place to walk is at Walden Pond in Concord, MA.
Driving the idyllic backroads to Concord is almost worth the trip alone. Trust me, this is worth a lot coming from someone from Western Mass. Upon arrival at the parking area, we were charged $5. My boyfriend and I were a little disappointed that there was a fee, but soon came to realize that the trip was worth the money.
The main trail goes around Walden Pond, which is across the street from the main parking area. Other trails branch off the main trail, but we did not try them. As we reached the pond, we noticed a bench partially submerged underwater. Some folks around us joked that their family members should sit on it. Others took pictures. I did not take a picture of the underwater bench :-P. Instead, we sat on a ledge above it and ate a couple grinders that we picked up from Subway. Then we began our walk around the narrow trail around the pond.
On our way, we passed by a beach with a clubhouse. Some people were sitting on beach chairs and blankets even though it was the middle of November. Granted, it was about 60 degrees outside, but still! We were in for a shock further along the trail when we came across a wetsuit-clad swimmer in the pond. I figured the water couldn't be warmer than 50 degrees. But if I thought that was strange, we next came across a whole gang of elderly people in bathing suits of various degrees of wetness. It's good for the circulation, I guess!
Our next stop along the trail was the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin. Thoreau secluded himself for two years of his life in a small, one room cabin which he built himself. He wrote his book, Walden, or Life in the Woods, about this experience. Although the actual cabin is long gone, markers indicate where the cabin stood. You can also see a replica of the cabin which stands near the main parking area, across the street. The cabin is fully furnished the way that Thoreau described it in his writings. You can walk inside, take pictures, and even try out the bed. Just outside the replica cabin, you can have your picture taken with a statue of Thoreau.
Halfway around the pond from the beachhouse, there are train tracks near the trail. A train comes around occasionally on its way to or from Boston. The train is easily visible from almost anywhere on the trail because of a gap in the trees. The sight of the train was both picturesque and slightly out of place.
After walking the 1.7 mile trail circling the pond, you can head back across the street and visit the gift shop. When we went, there was also a stand set up in the parking lot for hot dogs and ice cream (again, in November)! Upon leaving Walden Pond, I felt well-exercised and inspired by both the physical labor and intellectual work of Henry David Thoreau. A unique combination, and well worth the trip!