The Snow Curse persists!
The Snow Curse persists
For the last four or five major snowstorms, called blizzards by the regional media, I’ve been unable to get out and enjoy the island with a thick coating of snow on her before warm weather and or rain such as we’ll have later this week melts it all away.
This is because just prior to each of these snow events, I catch a cold. This curse persisted this week, as I felt a cold taking over my body on Tuesday and by yesterday (Saturday), I was almost completely incapacitated with crushing congestion, nonstop sneezing, coughing and chills.
So, here we are on the Sunday afternoon after the “big storm” with blue skies, nice cool air and brilliant sunshine. And where am I? Inside at my computer barely able to sit up and write this week’s walk while I look longingly outside wishing I could be out on snowshoes.
Where would I go if not cut down by this viral scourge coughing up lung butter and sneezing every five minutes? I’d bring my snowshoes or cross-country skis and head out to the parking area at Windswept Cranberry Bog to start off at. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, then I’d go down Almanac Pond Road and park in the Land Bank parking area (directions to both trailheads later).
Because of certain intrepid and curious island mountain bikers, there exists now a labyrinth of hiking/biking trails in the Middle Moors between the centuries old dirt roads, which are also great for exploring via snowshoes and cross-country skis.
You’ll be following dirt roads through the moors and crossing the moors between them on relatively new trails, so a good way to sample these wider-than-single-track paths is to follow this loop from which I’ll be working from for a bunch of hikes in my second volume of “Walking Nantucket”. Before you head out, remember to bring your compass, standalone or on a smart phone, and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s Middle Moors Map.
If starting from the Windswept Cranberry Bog parking area, go around the steel cable blocking vehicles from the bogs and down through the tree-lined path leading to the bogs. Take your first right and walk to the other side of the bog you’re now facing. At the forest with the trail heading into it, go left so that you’re between the trees and the bog. When you reach a t-intersection on the dike, go right and at the next t-intersection, right again and then left, so that there is bog on your right and brush on your left. Follow this dike to a dirt road (Almanac Pond Road) and go left onto this road.
Continue on Almanac Pond past three private properties and their driveways. You’ll eventually pass the Land Bank parking area marked with one of their blue, white and green posts. Keep going straight past the lot, past the next right turn and past Almanac Pond on the right. Just past the pond, the road gradually rises and then splits. Go to the right and follow this road up to a high spot where the first mountain bike trail begins on the right. Follow it down through the scrub oak and eventually up out of it onto another road. Go left here and you’ll find a bald spot from which you can see Sesachacha Pond to the east and the ocean.
Once you’re done gawking and taking selfies, find the trail on the right side of this hill and follow it down into the brush. It will eventually lead you to Folger’s Hill Road. Go right here and keep an eye out for a trail that almost immediately joins the road on your left. Go left onto it when you find this trail, which runs up over and down a previously inaccessible ridge.
This trail meanders along for quite a ways, eventually depositing you onto a more proper and wider gravely, sandy path. Go right here and follow this track past two left turns. Just after the second left turn, take a right onto a trail that walks up onto the lower slope of Folger’s Hill.
From where the trail ends, walk up the new trail past a wooden bench next to a boulder and on up to the top of Folger’s Hill. You’ll see the harbor, Coatue and Great Point to the north, Altar Rock to west and the Milestone Cranberry Bog to the south. Keep walking as the trail runs down to Folger’s Hill Road. Go left onto this road and when it ends at a t-intersection with North Road, go right. North Road will intersect with Almanac Pond Road where the pond is on the right. Go left here and follow Almanac Pond Road back to whichever parking area you left your ride at.
Find your way out to this part of the island by driving around 4.5 miles out Polpis Road from Milestone Road. If parking in the Land Bank parking lot, look for Almanac Pond Road on right and take it to find the parking areas. If you’re starting at the Windswept Cranberry Bog parking area, keep going along Polpis Road past the turn for Wauwinet Road on the left and then take a right into the bog parking area shortly after this turn.
Enjoy it for me!