Bay Circuit Trail Section 21

Posted By on September 14, 2017

7.21 miles; Easton and West Bridgewater, MA

This section was part pretty cool and part confusing and part boring. The cool part was the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area. The confusing part was the contradiction between the trail Guide and the blazing, and the boring part was nearly 3-3/4 miles of road walking.

The Trail

The Trail

This section started off at a power line cut, and at first it was pretty easy going, as you can see from the photo. The cut goes right through the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area, and it’s said to be inhabited by small hairy sprites called Pukwudgies. From the website Paranormal Encounters:

A Pukwudgie is a 2-or-3-foot-tall (0.61 or 0.91 m) troll-like being from the Wampanoag folklore. Pukwudgies’ features resemble those of a human, but with enlarged noses, fingers and ears. Their skin is described as being a smooth grey, and at times has been known to glow.

In Native American lore, Pukwudgies have the following traits and abilities;

they can appear and disappear at will
they can transform into a walking porcupine (it looks like a porcupine from the back, and the front is half-troll, half-human and walks upright)
they can attack people and lure them to their deaths
they are able to use magic
they have poison arrows
they can create fire at will
Pukwudgies control Tei-Pai-Wankas which are believed to be the souls of Native Americans they have killed.

Yeah, there’s a lot more at the link. Hockomock Swamp, which is in the heart of the famed Bridgewater Triangle, is supposed to be a

WHAT WAS THAT...???

WAIT, WHAT WAS THAT…???

hotbed of Pukwudgies. I didn’t actually see anything unusual…

Elderberries

Elderberries

Autumn Olive

Autumn Olive

I did see lots of berries, and probably not coincidentally, lots of birds. Besides the ones pictured, I saw Winterberries, Choke Cherries, Viburnum, and a lot I couldn’t identify off-hand.

Uneven Walking

Uneven Walking

After about a mile or so, the power line cut is intersected by an old railroad bed—no tracks, just the road bed. After that, the walking became more difficult, because they used these large angular rocks to fill in the wet parts, and boy was it a tough walking surface. I finally figured out that if I just locked my knees and did a stiff-legged, rocking gait, like a robot learning to walk, it went easier. Good thing, too, because I had to walk on this stuff intermittently for another 2-1/2 miles.

Gigantic Log Pile

Gigantic Log Pile

After 3-1/2 miles, I came out on the road. This gigantic log pile was in front of me. Lotta roads… and here’s where things got kind of confusing for me. Immediately after the Route 24 underpass (another milestone!), the Map 12 Guide says

Turn right onto Scotland St after crossing under Rt. 24. Walk 0.9 miles (currently unmarked as of early 2015). Hikers should walk on the left edge of the road to face oncoming traffic. 2.7 Turn Left off of Scotland St at a small gravel pull-off (room for ~2 cars). The trail runs parallel to the Town River. 3.0 Continue straight, passing the landmark Skim Milk Bridge on the right. 3.3 At the trail junction take a sharp right down a short slope. Continue through the wooded MassWildlife property until you emerge at the edge of an open residential backyard. Stay straight to follow the edge of the brush on MFW property towards Clinton Road.

Um, okay, I got that, but when I actually came out from under Route 24, the blazes said turn left, not right. I stood there for a while debating with myself, but finally decided that if the Guide was written in 2015, the blazes were probably more recent, and probably should be followed, so I did. I’m still not sure that was the right decision.

At any rate, I never got back into the woods, and spent the next 3-3/4 miles on roads. However, had I actually followed the guide, my total mileage would have been over 8-1/2 miles, and I didn’t even get to 7-1/4 total, so I did manage to save myself an extra mile and a quarter.

Let me guess. You hunt, right?

Let me guess. You hunt, right?

Bridge over the Town River

Bridge over the Town River

And road-walking isn’t all bad. You do occasionally see some interesting or lovely sights, even from the road.

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

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