Location: Charlton, MA
Date: March 15, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Hike Duration: 3.5 hours; 3.5 ish miles
Weather: Partly sunny; windy; 35 degrees F
I can’t believe this was a week ago and I’m just getting to write about it now. It’s been a busy week with lots of fun activities. The Tuesday prior to this hike brought a Nor’easter that dumped a foot and a half of snow on us (and more in some places.) As much as we’re ready for spring weather, this was the storm we’d been waiting for all winter! We were happy to have the opportunity for another snowshoe adventure, as well as some family sledding adventures.
Buffumville Lake is comprised of almost 500 acres of land and 200 acres of water. The lake is divided into two sides by Oxford Road. Our plan on this snowshoe adventure was to do the longer ‘lower’ lake loop. We debated on starting out by hiking the section of road that would comprise part of this loop, but ultimately decided to head into the woods first. This wasn’t the day for delayed gratification!
And thank goodness for that because our plans were thwarted. We made it to the dam (less than a quarter of the way around the loop), only to discover that the bridge we would need to use to traverse the water way was closed and under construction. If we had started out from the other side of the loop by walking the road first, we would’ve almost completed our hike before having to turn around. Yikes!
We returned to the parking lot, crossed the road, and hiked the ‘upper’ lake loop. We’ve done this loop a couple times in the past, but this was our first time snowshoeing it. This side of the lake boasts white pine forests and hemlock lined trails, so of course it’s a magical place for me! Which made up for the icy wind blowing across the lake at us for the first half of the hike.
For much of our hike, we were breaking trail. If you’ve been snowshoeing before, you know how much work that can be. Definitely an excellent workout for the legs and the cardiovascular system. Great for keeping our body temperature warm despite the cold wind. Also good for reminding me that maybe I should exercise more consistently…
Once we made it around to the other side of the lake, the wind was calmer and the sun was stronger. We felt our pace slow as we regarded the beaver dam with awe, watched the mallard ducks in pairs, listened to the movement of water, and absorbed the sun’s warm light on our faces. This is when we found ourselves ready for lunch.
We had a spot in mind, so continued on to reach it. Last time we were here, we ate on the rocks surrounding the stream. That seemed a bit precarious today, so Dennis cleared a spot on the bridge for us to sit on. We removed our snowshoes, sat on the waterproof blanket Dennis placed down, and dangled our feet over the rushing water.
After enjoying our sandwiches and some conversation, we journeyed on. We made it around the lake and into the woods that would lead us back to the road and the parking lot. Walking on this side of the lake was quite pleasant compared to the blustery winds we encountered earlier. Some areas were so warmed by the sun that the snow had completely melted to expose the earth beneath.
At the road, we removed our snowshoes and walked back to the parking lot. We reminisced about this one time we got so lost in the woods trying to hike the CCC Trail Loop in the Natchaug State Forest, we had to find our way out to a road and walk it a few miles back!
So this adventure wasn’t what we had planned, but the best ones never are. The hikes where we get lost, or lose a hat, or slip a leg into the river, or get caught in the rain, or have to fight our way through tick infested overgrown trails, or have to get picked up on the side of the road because we lost the trail completely, always seem to be the ones we remember the most. And usually with the most laughs.
Happy Spring! 🙂