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Fellsway, Stoneham, Massachusetts

Kevin, Judy and Emma

This was a trip to my old stompin' grounds. I had not done any hiking here in years. Stoneham is where I grew up, and the woods which are mostly housing developments now are where I learned to appreciate the outdoors and nature in general. The Middlesex Fells Reservation, or the Fellsway is one of the last places around that has a big area of woods in this area, albeit cut with roads and full of people. On the edge of the towns of Stoneham, Medford and Winchester it is bordered on the east by Rte. 93 and on the west by the Winchester Reservoir. There are stone towers at the north and south ends which afford great sunset views as well as the surrounding woods and the Boston skyline to the south. I spent much time here in the teen years, though not with the same appreciation for it as I have now. There is a large open field in the center of the woods known as the "Sheepfold" where I misspent many hours as a teen. The towers were also an attraction back then and were the site of many an illspent evening. Old age and wisdom have gradually taken over and the realization that this place is a rare gem in the urban sprawl has given me a new appreciation of its place in my life. It was truly a joy to follow the trails to the towers and along the reservoir once again. To tromp across the "Sheepfold" and imagine a hundred years ago there actually being boys like myself there to graze the families sheep. Some early camping trips were spent in these woods as well, though we were usually chased out by the cops. I was glad to see that nothing much had changed, except there is now a cover on the high pressure pond where we used to go to swim in the town's reserve water supply. For the most part, though, it is unchanged and is still an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors, a mere handful of miles from the concrete and steel of Boston. We hiked from the north tower to the south tower and back, using different trails in each direction, covering about 5-6 miles, I would guess. One trail that sticks out in my mind is the Skyline Trail which winds its way through the park, crossing roads and boulders, rising then falling as it makes its way from tower to tower. A google search will turn up much about the reservation. Here is a link to the Skyline Trail.

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