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Searching for reindeer at Powisset Farm

By Cameron Small
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

Powisset Farm runs community events that are not Trustee-member exclusives. One of these events is their currently on-going Reindeer Quest. Free and open to the public during daylight hours through the end of January 2023, anyone is welcome to come to the farm and walk the trails to find nine wooden reindeer. Needing some outdoor time after the past week of rain, I decided to see if I could find the reindeer. 

My first stop after arriving at Powisset Farm was to go into the store. My goal was two-fold: one, to see if there was anything in particular I needed; and two, to see if I could elicit any tips or hints about where I could find the reindeer. No spoilers forthcoming, aside from Rudolph being special in comparison to the other reindeer, I left the store with a little tracker to mark off which reindeer I’d encountered along the trails.

I started towards the trails, keeping my head on a swivel for these wooden reindeer. I was envisioning a deer-shaped, wicker structure, similar to the holiday decorations I see in neighbor’s yards. I was surprised when I encountered the first at the start of the Meadow Loop trail. The reindeer was slightly more rustic than what I’d envisioned — much more logs and sticks joined together than a realistic reindeer.

Be advised that the reindeer along the trails are not specifically named. I had no way of knowing whether or not this first reindeer was Donner or Dancer or Cupid or any of them. I did know, however, that it was not Rudolph, as my foray to the store indicated that Rudolph would be different from the other reindeer. I decided to mark off the reindeer as I came across them and not worry as to whether or not it was a specific individual — with the exception of Rudolph.

I continued down the trail of the Meadow Loop. My whole journey was fairly solitary — which represented much-needed alone-time after a week at work. Among the few people I encountered along the way, I first met a family heading back towards the parking lot. We exchanged pleasantries, with a young child upset that they only found seven of the nine reindeer. The spark of competition ignited, and I vowed I would find all nine — not just for personal bragging rights, but for the selfish urge of wanting to be mathematically better at finding abstract reindeer than a child. 

I passed a trail map and saw that in addition to the 1.5 mile Meadow Loop trail, there was an additional .2 mile loop known as the Knoll Trail. Immediately, my analytical brain kicked in: if I were creating a scavenger hunt with the intent of people exploring more trails and land, having something they’re looking for be in that additional loop would be a perfect way to get them to explore that loop. I made the decision that I would definitely go up the Knoll Trail, double back along the Meadow Loop to ensure there were no reindeer there, and then finish the Meadow Loop — it wasn’t that far out of my way, and it would likely be fruitful in my goal of finding more reindeer than the child I’d passed.

After approximately an hour and a quarter around the trails, my feet were killing me. Who could have guessed that wearing snow boots that do not provide great — or any — support would be inappropriate footwear? It may have also been the 4.2 mile hike I’d gone on earlier in Westwood… and as I looked up, darker clouds started to cover the blue skies. 

I finished the loop. Ultimately, I too only found seven of the nine reindeer. 

I did find Rudolph, who had what looked like a plastic cap for a red nose, as well as being made of white birch.

My theory for the location of the remaining two reindeer is that they reside in the area on the map labeled “Hayfield”, which I did not explore for three reasons. First, my feet were suing for divorce from my boots. Second, hunger was starting to morph from a mild complaint to a toddler gearing up for a meltdown. And third, which I tried to convince myself was the biggest reason, that I was unsure whether I was allowed into the Hayfield, because parts of it seemed to be open and other parts seemed to be blocked off by fencing to protect crops.

Ashamed of my perceived failure at not locating all the reindeer, I stopped by the farm store on my way out to get a drink. The ginger ale I got there was the best ginger ale I’ve ever had — a small consolation for my ego, but a grand consolation for my stomach demanding I provided it some sort of sustenance. I thanked the staff at the store, and headed off.

If you think you can find all nine reindeer, you have until the end of the month to explore Powisset Farm and locate them. 

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