Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Hike of the Season at Mt. Tom in Holyoke

DCR's Universal Access Program started the 2010 hiking season at Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke today. Brenda Davies of Stavros Outdoor Access (wearing white shirt) led the hike around the quarter mile accessible loop trail alongside Lake Bray.

A small group of local people with disabilities gathered for a discussion of beavers prior to the hike. Gini Traub, a DCR park interpreter, passed around a beaver puppet to assist with introductions, then several objects were shared educationally in preparation for seeing more evidence of beaver activity on the trail.

On a beautiful May day, the group moved at a gentle pace, enjoying various elements of nature, including bird songs, turtles and frogs, and new green growth in the forest as well as each other's company. The bugs were merciful, the air was sweet, and the temperature was ideal - a perfect start to spring!
Mt. Tom State Reservation is a noteworthy park for enjoying an accessible outing in the Pioneer Valley. There is a building at Lake Bray (off Route 5) with accessible parking, bathrooms and both indoor and outdoor picnic spots. From there, an access route brings you to a small fishing platform with a bench at the water's edge. The scenery is tranquil and quite nice for photography. The quarter mile accessible trail starts from the parking lot nearby and travels along the water to another fishing platform before circling back through the forest.
Upcoming hiking programs will take place at Wendell State Forest (CCC celebration), Lake Park in Worcester (letterboxing), and Halibut Point in Rockport (seaside stroll). Each hike usually has a theme and associated fun activities. For a full schedule call DCR's Universal Access Program at 413-545-5758 or Stavros Outdoor Access at 413-259-0009.

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