Town line

At the Ipswich-Topsfield line between Bradley Palmer State Park and Willowdale State Forest. The road it’s on is called Ipswich Road in Topsfield and Topsfield Road in Ipswich.

A soupy walk in Willowdale State Forest

As Easter was one of the first nice days we’ve had this spring, I thought I would head over to one of my favorite stomping grounds — Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich — and have a look at what the winter had wrought.

At first the trail seemed unusually dry (this is mud season, after all). Soon, though, I ran into washed-out paths that forced me to change my route and put in more miles than I’d planned on. There were a few bugs, though nothing like what will be buzzing around in a couple of weeks.

All in all, a great walk, and I was back home before the first quarter of the Celtics-Knicks game had ended.

Willowdale on a dry summer’s day

I’m not running because I’m trying to recover from a heel injury. I’m not riding because my bike’s in the shop with a snapped gear cable. So this afternoon I hiked through Willowdale State Forest in Topsfield (this link says it’s in Ipswich, but I stayed on the Topsfield side).

Because of the unusually dry summer, I was able to walk along trails that are almost always off-limits, including a particularly nice path that bisects a swamp. The horseflies and mosquitoes were obnoxious, but not overwhelmingly so.

Despite the dry weather, we’ve had some wild storms. Because of flooding damage, the footbridge that connects Willowdale with Bradley Palmer State Park is out — from the serious-looking chain-link fence that’s been built around it, I’d be surprised to see it reopen any time soon.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos.

First snow of the season

Click on photo for a Flickr slideshow
Click on photo for a Flickr slideshow

I’ve been banned from running — temporarily, I hope — and so this afternoon I headed over to Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich with my trusty Canon point-and-shoot to take some pictures of the season’s first snowfall.

As has been the case lately, the trails were incredibly muddy. A trail that leads in to the eastern end of the reservation now appears to be permanently flooded out. So I think I’ll plan my next visit for a deep freeze, which should make for better footing.

Other than the mud, it was a beautiful afternoon, and I ran into several mountain bikers, runners and fellow walkers. It was a great way to spend part of a Sunday.