Due to heat, bugs, and vacation, the hiking club tends to have less people participate in the summer leaving the core group to hike alone.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Westwood COA hiking club meets year-round, always on a Tuesday, and usually explore the trails of nearby towns like Medfield, Dover, Walpole and Sherborn. But last Tuesday, the group headed a little further than usual in search of less mud, fewer bugs, and a very nice view.
Meeting at the Trailside Museum in Canton, this week’s hike was to the top of Blue Hill via a paved access road to the top. While rare, this was not the first hike of the Blue Hills area for the group, but it was the first time they took the paved access road trail. But while the weather did threaten rain, and briefly deliver it, the reason the group wanted to hike the paved road wasn’t about the weather or the difficulty of the hiking itself - it was about mud and bugs.
Angie and Maria, the hike leaders, explained that the mud and bugs have been terrible this year, so they opted for a bit of a longer drive as “We thought we might have less bugs on the road. The bugs have been terrible this year, and hopefully there’s a breeze up top and we’ll have a nice view as well.”
While the club usually gets between four and twelve participants every hike, the Blue Hills hike was on the smaller end. But while it would be easy to chalk this up to an unfamiliar location or a bit longer of a drive than usual, Angie and Maria explained that while the club hikes year-round, including in the snow (when they opt to use snowshoes and wear warm clothing), the summer hikes tend to be less well attended than others because people are both on vacation and unwilling to hike when they deem it “too hot” or “too buggy.”
While for this hike the group all hiked together, to deal with COVID when larger numbers of people showed up, the club had a unique, socially-distanced solution. For many of their hikes, the group was split into two smaller groups who hiked on opposite ends of the trails, meeting only briefly in the middle as they passed each other.
The group wasn’t sure if they were going to stop in and look at the otter, fox, timber rattlesnakes or the other Trailside Museum animals once the hike was over, as they didn’t know if it was open due to COVID.
But the group wasn’t after an otter sighting, anyway; they were after a hopefully bug- and mud-free hike.