Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake. ~Wallace Stevens

Noanet Woodlands

Noanet Woodlands

The larger Mill Pond at Noanet

The larger Mill Pond at Noanet

The remains of the old iron mill at Noanet

The remains of the old iron mill at Noanet

Snakeskin found at Noanet, with foot for size comparison

Snakeskin found at Noanet, with foot for size comparison

A transplanted country girl, sometimes the bustle and noise of the city start to drive me crazy.

Perhaps that’s why, since moving here, I’ve becoming totally enamored with hiking. A few hours in the trees clears my mind and makes me a happy camper.

Luckily for me, the urban sprawl around Boston is not as bad as I would have expected, and there’s a significant number of prime hiking destinations within a few hours’ drive. Recently, I drove to Noanet Woodlands, near Dover, MA, and hiked around for hours. It was a lovely afternoon. The pictures above represent a smattering of the things I saw.

I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in discovering the uniquely New England-y aspects of nature: old rock walls, remnants of farmhouse foundations, forgotten wells; these markers of human presence are everywhere. New England feels quite different from the Midwest, even though many of the species of plants and trees and birds and ground animals are the same.  The land here is unlikely to be uninhabited unless it is explicitly preserved and set aside as “special.” (Some day relatively soon, I’m sure that all of Wisconsin will be the same way. I’m not sure how that makes me feel.) The resulting parks are beautiful, but they are less wild, more visibly cultivated than what I am used to.

But along with those marks of human intervention comes something else: a sense of history which makes the Boston area feel vaguely European. In Wisconsin, walking through meadows and trees, you might encounter detritus from previous inhabitants, but none of it was very old. As a girl, I found twisted pieces of our neighbors’ barn roof–which had been blown off by a tornado’s winds fifty years prior–in the woods behind our house. But here you are more likely to stumble on the remains of a tavern that served beer to General Washington’s men, or a collection of 18th century gravestones.

It’s pretty neat. Not home, but still pretty neat.

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~ by releasethebadgers on August 21, 2009.

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