2008-06-01 42 -71

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Sun 1 Jun 2008 in Boston:
42.3491079, -71.9162389

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[edit] Planning details

  • Google Maps link
  • The site can only be reached by boat. It is a bit of a hike from the nearest road to the water's shore. I have no idea if the land around the north end of the reservoir is public or private. The reservoir itself seems to be a public water source for the city of Worcester.
  • Somebody else on the internet kindly posted a few pictures of the area. They might be useful for those who wish to gear up properly for the terrain. Pine Hill Reservoir
  • The weather is expected to be partly cloudy, with a high in the low to mid 70's during the afternoon.

My boyfriend and I (cathy_n) will probably get there mid-afternoon, hike around a bit, gawk at the water, take pictures, and then find somewhere to eat. If you see a short, plump girl and a tall, skinny man wandering around the north shore with a GPS device, say hi!

[edit] Summary

  • Our hike, rendered by Google Maps
  • The nearby forest was gorgeous, the weather perfect, but the actual location was not legally reachable by boat. Pine Hill Reservoir is a public drinking water reservoir. The water is off-limits.
  • There are no trails. It is all off-trail hiking through a ungroomed mix of trees, shrubs, ferns, leaves, rotting logs, fallen branches, spider webs, mosquitoes, and ticks.
  • The "No Trespassing" signs were confusing, in that they seemed to be explicitly banning hunting, bathing, fishing, cutting of trees or shrubs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles -- but not hiking. We decided to take our chances that a couple pedestrians innocently enjoying the woods would not cause any trouble. We left a note on the dash of the car with our intentions and cellphone number, should anyone wish to contact us to inform us otherwise.
  • Kujo is an Eagle Scout and I am a lover of nature. Therefore, we left the area as untouched as possible. We brought back everything we took in with us (including bodily fluids) and were careful where we stepped so as to avoid making a trail. This is drinking water we were hiking around. We did not wish to pollute it in any way.
  • We doubled back after an hour of hiking because we wanted to be back at the car an hour before sunset. Therefore, we did not get as close as possible to the geohashing coordinates. We got as close as we were able. The reservoir has no beach and the trees grew very thick at the waterline where we stopped. We were unable to take a picture through them, so we took a blurry picture of the GPS instead.

[edit] Preparation

Below is a list of what we brought with us. The weather was expected to be in the mid-70's all day, dropping to the mid-50's at night, so we didn't need extreme gear. Perhaps this list is useful to others who want to do an off-trail hike during the summer in New England.

  • What we used:
    • Water and trail snacks
    • Long pants, long sleeved shirts, hats with brims, water-resistant shoes/boots, backpacks
    • Bug repellant (DEET 100%) rubbed on exposed skin
    • GPS, cellphones, compass, paper map of the area
    • Hiking sticks for pushing aside brambles, probing footholds, and clearing cobwebs from the path
  • What we took "just in case":
    • Waterproof jacket shells in case of rain
    • A reflective vest for visibility
    • First aid kit
    • Survival gear: Waterproof matches, flashlights, swiss army knife, whistle, mirror, rope, sunblock, snakebite kit, required medications
  • What we forgot:
    • A decent camera. We used our cellphones, and the results speak for themselves...

When you are done hiking, do a complete tick check! They like to get into your socks and under your waistband especially, but they can be in your hair, between your toes, or in other cracks and crevices. We removed one adult deer tick from Mike's stomach (under his waistband) after we got home.