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Hiking the Harold LeBlanc Trail

From now on, walking this path should be called 'hiking the Harold.'

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

The Harold LeBlanc Trail at the Fisher School was cleared by Paul Bolton and a crew of Boy Scouts this March. On the Walpole Trails Facebook page, they received 49 likes for their effort. They now have fifty, because I threw them some digital appreciation for their work after hiking the trail myself. Because while it’s certainly not the longest or most interesting trail in Walpole, for a not-especially-heralded hike behind an elementary school that’s been closed for months, it’s very well maintained.

The bridges and the trail in general were very well maintained for being far from one of Walpole’s marquee trails.

There are a couple of ways to access the trail. The first is from the soccer fields at Fisher School, the second is from the first playground, and the last is from the basketball courts. All will lead to the same place, so it’s really your call as to which you choose to head down. I opted for the basketball courts, because something about them caught my eye. The courts have both ten-foot and eight-foot rims.

I love the thought that really young kids are given a means to introduce themselves to basketball in a way that they can enjoy. Last year, my niece signed up for basketball, and found that the league practiced drills and taught them the rules of the game, but never let them actually play. The theory was that young children need to learn to play the right way, and to master the fundamentals. After three weeks, she had a solid base of skills and a firm grasp of the rules of the game. Given that she quit immediately after the third week, believing basketball isn’t fun at all and signing up for dance class, it’s unclear what good those fundamental basketball skills are going to be - but she has them.

I don’t know if it’s from the kids who built the bridge or something else, but there’s a ton of lumber all over the place on the Harold LeBlanc Trail. Some had been made into a lean-to, some had been strewn around the mud, and some was just lying on the ground, but there was a lot of it. A couple of trees also sported some ropes with knots on them, which didn't seem to be holding anything up. Again, it was unclear what purpose, if any, these served or were supposed to be a part of, but there was definitely some rope on some trees. If you're in the market for lumber or rope, the back of the Fisher School has you covered.

This lean to was mostly made of professionally cut timber, rather than logs and sticks.

It’s not the most exciting trail, but it could clearly be very exciting for the kids at Fisher School. Even into college, students were always begging to have class outside on a nice day. It would be a lot more interesting to have class in the middle of the woods outside, on a nice day.

By the way, "Hiking the Harold" is the new phrase for going on this trek, if it wasn't already called that around Walpole. While there are no waterfalls, abandoned mine-shafts, or anything like that, there's also not much mud and nowhere to sprain your ankle. It's a good way to introduce kids to the joys of hiking without exhausting them on a long uphill climb or scraping their hands on jagged rocks while butt-scooting down large hills.

Simply put, it's a nice introductory hike for the eight-foot rim crowd.

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