Friday, September 20, 2013

Bay Circuit Trail Map 9 - Ashland To Sherborn Section Hike

I can summarize this hike in two words,"Sherborn Sucked."

The unmarked trails and inadequate trail guide for this section really got me down. I spent so much time backtracking and looking for the trail in vain that I lost all my enthusiasm for completing the trail. In the final two miles of the 12 mile hike, I decided to abandon my plan to hike the remaining 80+ miles of the trail to Kingston. Now that I've had time to reflect on the hike, I've reconsider my decision, well sort of. I'm in no hurry to go back to the BCT and it's unlikely I will finish the trail before the end of the year.

I should have known I was in for a long hike when I hit a detour in the first quarter mile. Following the detour south on Route 126 in Ashland I turned onto Tri Street. There I encountered another problem. The bridge on Tri Street was was washed out!  Even the detour had a detour so it was back to Route 126 for more road walking. Finally, after more than two miles of pavement I got some dirt under my feet walking under a power line that would take me to Barber Reservation. 

Off-road section in Ashland could not be taken making for a long road walk.

But the detour described in the trail guide was blocked!

I got a sense that I was in for a long day of misfortune.

There wasn't much to Barber Reservation.  A few meadows and some wide dirt paths were all I saw. In fact, the walk along the power line and though the reservation was only a mile long. I took a short break at Barber to have a snack and some water and then took to the road again. What should have been a short half mile road walk turned into a futile search for the trail head on Dexter Drive in Sherborn. I walked up and down the street three times but could not locate the trail that passes through private property and onto farmland that would take me to Brush Hill Reservation.  After a good 30 minutes I decided to continue on the road and find the reservation on my own.

Not a trail but better than the road.

Trail in Barber Reservation

Trail though a grassy meadow in Barber Reservation.

I made a new friend on my road walk from Barber Reservation to Brush Hill Reservation so it wasn't all bad.

After another 1.5 miles of unplanned road walking I located the trail head at Brush Hill Reservation. Unfortunately, the blaze at the trail head was the only one I ever saw. Since the BCT was unmarked here, and there were many intersecting trails, I decided to follow the one that appeared to be the most traveled. It was the logical choice but ended up being an incorrect one. More backtracking, more cursing and inevitably more road walking followed, but I was able to find I my way to Sherborn Town Forest. 

View of the farm I was supposed to hike though but couldn't locate the trail on the opposite side.

Trail in Brush Hill Reservation the led to nowhere.

About two miles of the BCT pass through Sherborn Town Forest. The trail is a mix of wide paths and single-track with some moderate changes in elevation. I was so happy to find the trail was well blazed and easy to follow. That is until I came to a four way intersection one mile into the reservation. I could go left, right or straight ahead but the BCT was not marked here. I looked in all three directions but could not locate a blaze. I looked behind me. Nothing!

 An opening in the trail revealed this building and tower.

I knew the BCT crossed Route 27 to the east so I took the trail on the right and walked east. This time I made the right decision. I continued on this trail for another mile before reaching the roadway.  By now I was pretty frustrated and decided to abandon the rest of the hike and skip the final three miles through Sherborn, missing the best part of the trail through Rocky Narrows Reservation. Instead, I walked 2.5 miles south on Route 27 back to my car that was waiting for me in the Rocky Narrows parking lot. This wasn't the hike I hoped it would be but sometimes stuff happens.

I'll be back......some day. 

BCT Maps 9: 12 miles
Surface split: 7m roads, 5m trails
Elevation gain: 672 feet
Highest point: Gibbs Hill.
Start point: Pond Street,Ashland
End point: Rocky Narrows, Sherborn
Other towns: None
Green Spaces: Barber Reservation, Brush Hill Reservation, Sherborn Town Forest 
Hydration: 80 oz water
Fuel: One Cilff Bar
Footwear: Brooks Cascadia 5, Fits socks
Total BCT covered to date: 140 miles
Surface split: 83 trail and dirt road, 50 pavement, 7 paved rail trail
Total elevation gain: 5683+
Highest point: 602 ft
BCT remaining: 62 estimated

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