Monday, Apr 15, 2019 10:00a -
Wellington Station Busway
Medford, MA 02155
Date Idea, Meetup, Social Good, Sports & Active Life, Tech, University
Want to escape the hubbub of Patriot's Day? Join us for a more quiet adventure as we heath to the North Shore for some relaxed hiking. Prepare to hike for three miles. This jaunt is open to all levels, but you must be prepared to hike three miles continuously if needed. Please bring a jacket, sunglasses, hat, and sturdy footwear (preferably hiking boots). 1 liter of water and a snack are also recommended. A more complete description of the place is below.
Hike a spectacular mix of tidal river, salt marsh, open fields, and woodlands that define the hill and lands to the west. From the 168-foot hilltop, you can see as far as Mount Agamenticus in southern Maine.
A three-mile network of trails and pathways leads you through thriving wetlands and up to landscape-level views of this corridor of protected open space along the Parker River. The Ridge Trail climbs moderately to vistas to the south, east, and north. The River Trail, a short and especially scenic family friendly trail, passes an old pasture along the marsh's edge and then loops into an oak forest along the banks of the Little River. Old Town Hill is a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.
In the upland, second-growth forest and fields support ground-nesting birds and serve as hunting grounds for hawks and owls. Salt meadow grass, cord grass, seaside goldenrod, and sea lavender thrive in the salt marsh. Mud snails, green crabs, and ribbed mussels live in the tidal creeks and provide food for wading birds, such as egrets and great blue herons.
Glacial action from 12,000 years ago helped create the extensive salt marsh. Today, the ebb and flow of the Parker and Little rivers – freshwater streams with sources miles inland that become increasingly tidal as they approach the coast – are critical to keeping the marsh healthy. The tidal flows nourish the salt meadow twice a day. This tide-dependent environment is part of the 25,000-acre “Great Marsh,” New England’s largest, which stretches for more than 20 miles between Gloucester and southern New Hampshire.
Salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on earth and support a great diversity of marine life; act as nurseries for shellfish and finfish; and attract wading birds including egrets, glossy ibis, and herons.