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Hiking the newly-opened Rocky Woods

A family poses at the newly-reopened Rocky Woods

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

When they asked George Mallory why he wanted to hike Mount Everest, he famously replied “because it’s there.” For decades, people have (while wrongly attributing it to Edmund Hillary) declared this quote a call to adventure or a testament to the human spirit.

I disagree. I think Mallory said what he said about climbing Everest because he wasn’t willing to admit he wanted the fame and prestige that would come along with being the first to do so. Or maybe he just couldn't think of an actual reason.  

Whether Everest, Mount Washington or even Blue Hills, I don’t get the idea of hiking up a hill. A walk in the park? Sure. A stroll along the lake? Absolutely. But the idea of lugging myself vertically until my legs burn and I’m soaked in sweat, all to maybe see a view that is very likely obscured by fog? I just don’t get it. To me, it’s like sledding, but minus the fun part.

Still, with Rocky Woods now open, I wanted to see what views Medfield had to offer. So, on Sunday I looked at the trail map and decided I would hike to the top of Cedar Hill. Because I needed a picture, and because parking was five bucks - and I wasn’t going to leave without getting my five dollars' worth.

The area around Chickering Pond was flat enough for mountain bikers.

Honestly, it’s not a tough hike. The path is lined in wooden steps, and you never have to grab on to branches or anything to try and right yourself.

Despite the gray clouds, when I got to the top, it was a very clear view. But after looking around, I realized nobody was there. I didn’t want to take a picture of myself and put it in my own article, so I waited on top of the ridge for anyone to come by so I could take their picture, right in front of the background I wanted. Eventually, a family came by. I asked if I could take their picture, and they let me.

This fisherman hadn’t caught anything, but said he’d had a few nibbles.

I was glad I told them it was for the newspaper right away, because of how weird the situation would have looked if I hadn’t. Imagine if this family hiked in the woods to the top of a ridge, only to be greeted by a man with a camera, making them stand together and pose in front of the backdrop he had already picked out. They’d think Rocky Woods had become a Carnival Cruise ship.

There were some odd things in the woods, though. One of the red dot trails looked like it had been dug up to make it harder to pass through, which might have been a natural occurrence - but sure looked like someone had intentionally tried to make it harder to walk through.

This path of the trail (note the tree with the red dot) seemed very unfriendly to hikers.

A couple of concrete blocks showed the remains of an old fire tower on Cedar Hill, but I didn’t know that until I went home and Googled it. There was also a lone brick resting on one of the larger trees in the middle of the forest. I have no idea why it was there, but there have been a lot of mysterious bricks appearing out of nowhere lately, so maybe it’s the world’s most obscure riot trap.

Still, if hiking is your thing, Rocky Woods has a bunch of trails you can enjoy. But if somebody asks you why you’re doing it, or a handful of mosquito bites and a calf cramp later you start to wonder yourself, you’d better have a better answer than "because it's there."

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