Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harold A. King Town Forest Swampscott

While seeking out local trails on google maps (anything with a lack of streets), I could see a good stretch of land with the name of Harold A. King town forest in the upper north west section of Swampscott. This is less than a mile from my house. It is also known as the Oscar Short Conservation land or merely Harold King town forest. It includes 42 acres. I found requests in the WickedLocal site for volunteers for trail maintenance over the past few years and a blog write up from a gent who was visiting each town in MA. Despite a lack of information on the land in terms of maps or friendly entry, I headed out for a mid morning run to explore that area from my doorstep. I got to the official trail head at the end of Nichols Street, a dead end street which dropped down from Windsor Avenue. The sign has been weathered pretty good but you can faintly see the name, Oscar Short Land conservation area. Orange markings on the trees seemed to lead the way. I went in about 200m and it was clear that this was going to be a hike and not conducive to running at the pace I wanted to. I went back there today with Krissy to check out the trail and get some pictures. The trail is marked as you walk counter-clock wise with orange paint on trees or rocks. If you turn around, your in a bit of trouble as the trail is not marked in the clockwise direction and the trail is not obvious. It is clear that this trail is not walked or hiked often due to the amount of down branches, trees, and thorny brush impeding. We came upon an abandoned car from the 1950's in it's own grave about 15 minutes into the hike. The left fender was close by while the hood of the car was up trail about 100 meters. I love to see cars in it's patina state. The stories that the car could tell. I would imagine the car has been there for 40 plus years and entered from the rare fire road that led to the backyard of someone's house 500 meters away up a hill. It had a makeshift fence to keep people out of the secondary backyard that held a shack-like garage with a busted window. The german shepherd from the house 300m away warned me of his presence. In all, it took us about 45 minutes to meander through through the town forest via orange marked trail. I could see just two other entrance ways into this forest but they would certainly require going through someone's yard which I would not advise. We stopped several times to enjoy the scenery and take photos which Krissy has hosted. I would encourage anyone to check this out for a nice hike on little used trails.

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