perhaps the only non-rain day this week, i went to the 640 acres breakheart reservation in saugus. i'll write more tomorrow, for now enjoy some photos.
breakheart reservation is a massachusetts' department of conservation and recreation (DCR) property located in saugus of all places. it's a pretty conspicuous piece of land when seen on a map, a 640 acres area of wildlife in an otherwise thickly settled residential and commercial landscape. i picked breakheart because 1) i'd never been there before, and 2) it was different from my usual haunts (normally west of boston) that i was hoping to see something new for a change. the distance to travel is only about 10 miles but the route cuts through some busy thoroughfares so it took half an hour to get there. and unlike the leisure rides out west, the road north is all business, with nothing really to see and a whole mess of cars jostling for lane positions. i went through sullivan square to 99 north, cutting across 16 revere beach parkway to connect to route 1 north. that was a miscalculation as i suddenly found myself on a major highway doing 65 mph. though the motorcycle can go as fast as 85 mph, as a general rule i try not to go that fast due to an overwhelming fear of dying in a high speed accident.
normally i avoid DCR properties, precisely because of their popularity. with so much pedestrian traffic, these places are never that wild. joggers, mountain bikers, dogwalkers - these are the folks i try to stay away from. when i got to breakheart, i was surprised by how packed the parking lot was. in my usual naturing spots, i'm normally the only person around.
i took the first trail i came across, a promising one called the saugus river trial. apparently it's not very popular, maybe because of the mosquitoes, maybe because of the more challenging terrain, but i never saw another person during the whole time i was on that trail. though less than a mile, i spent more than 3 hours exploring the area, including taking a short detour to check out the mill dam trail.
with all the recent rain, fresh mushrooms were growing in select areas. it's still early in the season though, i expect to see even more later during the summer.
i did see any new species of ferns, just the usual: cinnamon, hay-scented, interrupted, and sensitive. i found polypody growing in one rocky area, but there were probably more in places i didn't see. at one point towards the end of the trail there was a large population of shinleaf. the flowers looked familiar but the leaves were different from what i saw in wayland (maybe a different species).
leaving the nashua river trail i ended up on one of the main paved access roads. i felt like a wild man stepping out of the wilderness and back into civilization again. i saw joggers, people walking their dogs, a couple of boys with fishing poles, and even some bikini-clad teenagers. apparently there's a beach further into the reservation, although not much sun on this overcast day. i chatted with a couple taking a leisurely stroll. i told them it was my first time at breakheart but i was really impressed with the place. they told me i should visit eagle rock, where from the summit i could get a really good view of boston. i could see mosquitoes eating them alive so i cut short our conversation and let them go on their way. i thought about taking their advice but came to my senses and decided to go home instead, saving eagle rock for my next visit.
i made my way home via route 99 instead of route 1; definitely slower going but i felt safer not having to deal with highway traffic. after a shower i caught the news that michael jackson was found unconscious and taken to the hospital. all the news networks covered it and hours later it was announced that michael jackson had died.