Thursday, August 19, 2010

Take a Walk at Walden Pond on August 26

The cabin replica at Walden Pond.
A long time ago, a man built a small cabin by the side of a pond and lived there for 2 years enjoying his connection to nature. His book about his experiment in simplifying his life became a classic in American literature and helped sparked the conservation movement. Today you too can visit Walden Pond, take a walk in the woods, enjoy the pond, and the words of Henry David Thoreau, even if you have a disability.

Walden Pond is a state reservation on the outskirts of Boston in Concord. It is an extremely popular public swimming spot in the summer and has a network of trails that circle the glacially carved pond. DCR's Universal Access Program operates an adaptive kayak program at the boat launch, which has just ended for the season. Restrooms and gift shop are wheelchair accessible. Interpretive staff offer programs year round. A beach wheelchair is available for use on beach or trails. This year, the water level has been so high, the beach has been non-existent, but the beach wheelchair has been used to assist people in visiting the site of Thoreau's cabin, less than a half mile from the visitor center on wide, well-traveled trails. A replica of Thoreau's cabin is on display near the parking lot and is often the meeting spot for group walks to the original house site.

Adaptive hking proram meets at the replica of Thoreau's cabin.
I just revisited the house site and replica while picking up kayaks this week and took an exercise break from a long day of driving. It is always a treat to be reminded of the passion for nature and honest living that Thoreau called his readers to hold dear. Seems like his writing still has a lot to offer us as we struggle with contemporary issues of energy use, lifestyle choices, and human impact on the environment. I find his writing to be an ongoing inspiration for my own retreats to the woods. When I reached the site of the original cabin, I was struck by the size of a rock pile there. Since Thoreau's time, it has been customary for visitors to leave a rock, and after 150 years or so, that pile is getting pretty darn big!

On Thursday, August 26, DCR's Universal Access Program and Stavros Outdoor Access will offer an adaptive hike using mountain wheelchairs as shown above. To find out more and sign up, call Brenda Davies at 413-259-0009. For more information on the park and visitor services, contact Jen Ingram at 978-369-3254.

Thoreau's famous statement at the edge of the rock pile.
Trails to the house site are generally wide and easy to navigate but you can expect some grades and tree roots.

1 comment:

Marcy Marchello said...

Jerry Berrier comments on joining the Walk at Walden Pond as a person who is blind:

My wife Elaine was not available to accompany me, so I called The Ride, Boston’s para-transit service. The first person I spoke to said The Ride does not go to Walden Pond, but I pursued it anyway and soon discovered that others were planning to arrive via The Ride. I called again and was able to schedule the trip.

I was met by Brenda, who introduced me to other participants. She told me I would be walking with Maya. Maya is a competent and friendly guide. I hope to meet her again some day to learn more about her work with elephants. What a wonderful experience it was to walk and talk with her.

Peter Davenport, a park interpreter, told us of the life and times of Henry David Thoreau, and we went inside a replica of the type of cabin Henry is thought to have lived in. He told us of a big rock pile at Walden Pond in honor of Mr. Thoreau. People come from all over the world and bring a rock or two to add to the pile. Next time I visit there, I hope I can remember to bring a rock from Everett with me; there are certainly some good ones in my yard.

After a moderate walk, we ate our brown bag lunches on the shore of Walden Pond and then prepared to leave. I said goodbye to Maya and the others with a heart full of joy.

I hope to attend many more DCR events in the coming months.

Anybody know where I can find a light-weight but strong white cane that can double as a hiking stick?

Jerry Berrier
Access Technology Consultant
18 Trunfio LN
Everett, MA 02149
(508) 735-4420
Skype: jerry.berrier