birding
4 months ago

Interesting hike, especially the Savannah. Felt like I was in another state! Serpentine side is better than the Choate Mine side. Nothing I hate more than being alone in the woods for miles and miles and then stumbling onto suburbia halfway through!

Hiked the trail on an August morning so it wasn't too hot. You can catch the Serpentine Trail at the visitor center or the parking area off of Deerfield Road and is easy to follow. The trails across the road from the parking area are not as well marked and even though I used to volunteer there I still managed to take a couple of wrong turns. The trails were overgrown in some sections which means you really need to watch out for ticks latching on to you as you brush by the vegetation . There is some signs explaining the history of the area and the rare species they are trying to save so plan on a couple of stops along the way.

I enjoyed walking these trails, but a few suggestions to those considering it in the summer time:
- Wear Sunscreen if you go on the Serpentine Trail. There is not much shade, you may want to bring an umbrella for shade.
- Bring lots of water.
- Beware of ticks! I never manage to come back from these trails without them. They are very small. Always wear a hat and bug repellent if you can. Use permetherin on your clothing or DEET (nothing under 25% deet). There are sections that are grassy and the grass encroaches onto the pathways, you have to pass through them. Tick city.

Other than those things, it's really enjoyable.

I have hiked here for a number of years, and there are parts of this hike that I really like and parts that I am not crazy about. First, the good. I like the open areas with the different grasses, scenic views, and interesting "serpentine" rock that lines the trails. There are wooded sections of the trail that are also very scenic, and there is enough elevation gain here and there to make it a decent workout. On the negative side, there are ugly high tension lines passing through a section of park, and the trail can become extremely sloppy and muddy in winter or after heavy rains. All in all, it's an interesting worthwhile hike.

Explored Soldier's Delight on a warmer winter day. Took the Serpentine Trail and immediately thankful I wore good boots. The trail was either (1) muddy, wet, and sunken like a dried creek bed, (2) solid ice, or (3) nubby rock depending on where you were. The landscape is eerie and desolate, with scrubby brush, spindly oak, and stretches of grassland interspersed with areas of forest. I kept trying to find beauty in my surroundings -- the grassland really was lovely, with shades of purple, red, and yellow. It almost looked like the land was on fire (interestingly, since the ecosystem is actually dependent on fire). I also reminded myself that the serpentine barren is home to many rare and endangered insects and plants, so it made things more interesting. What I couldn't stand though, were the power lines cutting through the trail, and the constant sound of gunshots in the distance. There's a shooting range nearby, and it makes you feel like you're in a horror movie. I may go back to check out the trails that go near the old mines, or to experience it in another season for trail running.

This loop was pretty disappointing to be honest. Extremely muddy, I'd say at least 75% of the loop was either muddy, deeply rutted, iced over or running water like a stream. It was after a small snow melt but there's also power lines and townhouses so never got the feeling of being "away from it all". If not for the unique ecosystem and landscape it would have been a bust of a hike.