early on i discovered my roommate's fondness for naturing so i figured i could introduce her to our northeastern wilderness one of these days, give her something to take about with her naturing friends back home in shanghai. i wanted a place that had a lot of variety and decided on memorial forest in sudbury, with its mixture of marsh land, ponds, forest, and even man-made desert. i'd been there on a few occasions, starting way back in july 2005, then june 2006, and twice (may, november) in 2007.

before that could happen though, i had to drive my parents to south station this morning so they could go to new york city for the weekend. they were supposed to arrive at 6:00 and then i'd just drop them off at the nearest subway station, but they ran late and didn't arrive until 6:20, so we ended up going to south station after all, with 20 minutes to spare before their tentative 7:00 fung wah bus departure.

with my parents gone, i had the car for the weekend. coming back home was a lot quicker via 93 north and sullivan station. i even managed to go back to sleep for an hour or two, before waking up again to make some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

we left around 10:30 and got to the memorial forest by 11:30.

there actually wasn't a lot to see, even though i'm sure my roommate would say differently since everything was new to her. we started with a few marsh trails until we got to the old railroad tracks. we crossed over hop brook, admiring the view from above. since my last visit, they'd added more planks to the bridge so it isn't as scary.

we arrived at the sand pit, then kept on walking west until we reached the pipeline pass. we walked south until we reached the ocean by-pass, then back to the desert loop via heron spur. the forest was remarkably dry, and the few boardwalks we passed by were sitting on nothing more than wet mud. the one good thing about all the dryness was the lack of mosquitoes.

what started as a simple pitch pine pinecone soon became a bag of forest souvenirs: additional pinecones, a round oak gall, as well as a bunch of bluejay feathers.

we did see a few things: 2 black water snakes, 1 garter snake, a few chipmunks, some painted turtles (my roommate had never seen turtles in the wild), indian pipes, bare ladyslipper orchids, jewelweed, various dragonflies, sampled some wild blueberries, and heard some bluejays.

we left around 3:30, after spending almost 4 hours in the forest.

after getting back around 4:30, we left soon afterwards again, this time to the rock and roll yard sale in union square. my roommate had told me her dream of owning a record collection even though she doesn't own a player or any LP's. that didn't stop her from picking up a few old records, but obviously she still had a lot to learn about taking care of them, because one of the records actually rolled out of its sleeve and landed in some gravel (scratches, anyone?).

she was meeting some friends in davis square later (arriving there via bus) so i took off early, stopping by market basket to pick up a few grocery items.