Dam project underway in the Middlesex Fells

I hadn’t visited the Middlesex Fells for several months, and it looks like I missed a lot. The town of Winchester is rebuilding the 147-year-old North Reservoir Dam at a cost of $6 million. The water level has been lowered considerably in order to accommodate the construction. Here’s a story about it from the Winchester Star, back when there was a Star.

A brown day in the Fells

I took my first hike in the Middlesex Fells since last December. It was a beautiful day, but the trails were much drier than I expected. That doesn’t bode well unless we have an exceptionally wet April. No signs of greenery yet. No patches of snow, either, although there was a little bit of slushy ice on one of the smaller ponds. Click on the photos for a larger view.

Middlesex Fells

A few pictures from earlier today with my new iPhone SE.

Alongside the North Reservoir in Stoneham
Reservoir and Skyline Trails near the entrance to Sheepfold
Fungus in Winchester
Looking north toward the Middle Reservoir in Winchester

Snow and hail — snail!

Middlesex Fells between the Middle and South Reservoirs at about 3:30 p.m.

While you were impeaching

Middlesex Fells earlier today — in Stoneham, if my phone can be believed.

Long Pond

Long Pond in the Middlesex Fells — 6.2-mile hike this afternoon ahead of the storm. 

Gray day in the Fells

Middle Reservoir, Middlesex Fells. Looking north.

COVID Diary #1: When a public park on a nice day is something to be feared

Fire road in the Middlesex Fells. Photo (cc) 2016 by Dan Kennedy.

We’re living through a historic moment. Following the lead of many others, I’ve decided to start keeping a COVID-19 diary. Don’t expect anything startling — just a few observations from someone stuck at home, lucky to be working and healthy.

In early March, I began running for the first time in many months, starting out at a cautious two miles and gradually working up to five. During the intervening weeks, the world started closing down around us. I settled on main drags where few people tend to walk and where I could head out into the street if necessary. My goal was to give people 15 or 20 feet of separation.

Then, yesterday, a beautiful spring day, I took a chance that I should have known wouldn’t work out. So many parking areas around the Middlesex Fells have been closed that I thought the fire roads around the North Reservoir might be relatively empty. No such luck — it was like a beach in Florida, only with trees. I got maybe a quarter of a mile in before I could see that it was hopeless. I stopped, put on my mask (which I had carried with me) and walked out.

Today: Back to the streets.

Talk about this post on Facebook.

Middlesex Fells by moonlight


I took this shot toward the end of a hike through the Middlesex Fells around Winchester’s North Reservoir. If you’d like to see more, please click here.