Erving State Forest, Wed/Thurs, 6/22-23/16
Jimmy and I pulled out of Circle C/G in Bellingham MA this morning, leaving behind our Massachusetts family ... and my brother, Rus, still in the hospital. All of the visiting family scattered, as we're wont to do. Some had to return home and some just hit the road.
He and I traded in Boston and its hectic pace, for the woods. While we had no particular place or plan in mind, we wanted to get off the beaten path and onto the scenic route in northern Mass. Erving State Forest fit the bill even tho we barely made it 100 miles from where we'd been. This is one more place we'd never heard of prior to showing up, and it's a prize-winner!
What made this state park so spectacular is the vast amount of blooming mountain laurel. Above, it lines the entrance (the only smooth part of the entrance, I might add) leading up to the check-in shed.
Tergel looks mighty pretty sitting amid the laurel. The park is hilly and the sites are far apart, with laurel shrubs and trees filling in between. We picked this site because it was long enough and fairly flat; most sites were otherwise. And it was all by itself. We paid $20/per for two nights, which I consider a fairly steep price to pay for a park with no-hookups, but you know what? It was worth every penny. Just the place to wind down, rest and relax. We didn't even bother pulling down shades at night ... we were in our own private cove. And as quiet as you'd ever want.
When I say rest and relax, I don't mean sit on my butt all day. It's good to move around some. We scouted out a trail, which turned into a washed-out dirt road. After a half mile or so, we turned around, figuring we could do better.
Laurel Lake is so-named because of -- yup, you guessed -- the mountain laurel that surrounds it. And it's a very lovely lake.
There's a put-in spot for boats, and we saw one speedboat pulling a tube with laughing kids on it, as well as a small, sandy beach for bathers. We walked down to lake's edge, wondering how those people could stand to be in such cold water. When we stuck our fingers in to test the water, we realized it wasn't cold at all. That does not mean, however, that it was warm enough for us to go in. Admire, yes, go for a dunk? No.
Across from Laurel Lake, was a hiking trail called, uh-huh, Laurel Loop. So, we started up, and up and up. Great stands of mountain laurel stood out amid the trees. The day was warm, not hot, but all I could think of when looking around was snow.
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) in the heather family.
Laurel Loop led us high on a ridge with a view of Mount Monadnock (3,166'), roughly 34 miles distant. The mountain is in New Hampshire.
And another view from "lonely rock."
And then we commenced descending, crossing this small creek in the process.
Nearly all the huge shrubs of laurel in the forest were white, and I mean these things were ten feet tall! Maybe taller. The spent petals on the forest floor reminded me so much of snow flakes. Except for this pink stunner at the front of the park. I've seen laurel, but I've never seen a forest of it, and it was truly a sight to behold. Like I said, a prize-winner!
We saw a couple of Falls near here on the map. Tomorrow we'll see what we can discover.