Yesterday afternoon my husband and I decided to go for a hike (with our dog Callie) in the Tompson Street Reservation to commemorate the last day of summer. Tompson Street Reservation is a property that belongs to the Essex County Greenbelt, an organization whose stated mission is to conserve the farmland, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes in Essex County, Massachusetts.
At 320 acres, the Tompson Street Reservation is the largest property within the Greenbelt system. Within its boundaries are numerous trails of varying difficulty, many rocks and boulders of Cape Ann granite and vernal pools, where tadpoles and other amphibians hatch each spring.
We began our hike at the Norcross Gateway, which is on Concord Street in Gloucester, opposite Exit 13 off Rt 128 North. It was a gorgeous day, with blue skies and very little humidity. And of course, beautiful and verdant scenery! The leaves are only just starting to think about changing color, so most of what we saw was still quite green.
Some of the trails go back several centuries and the occasional crumbling low stone walls bring Robert Frost poems to mind. The reservation also houses a marker of the original site of the Second Parish Church, established in 1716 so that West Gloucester residents did not have to travel all the way to the First Parish Church in downtown Gloucester - a journey of several hours that took folks through the woods and across the bay.
We climbed to the top of Eagle Rock and took in the amazing view of forest, with a glimpse of ocean and the far-off mountains of Maine.
For the 2+ hours that we were in the reservation, my husband and I didn't see any other people, which despite being less than a half mile from the road, gave our ramble an otherworldly quality. The illusion of being the only people for miles was bolstered by the lack of human noise; the racket of rustling leaves and birds was our primary soundtrack. Thoreau would have approved.
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