Bay Circuit Trail Section 12

Posted By on July 14, 2017

8.7 miles; Marlborough, Framingham, and Sudbury, MA

Well this section couldn’t have been more different from the last one. First, there was hardly any road-walking at all… maybe 1/4 mile. I didn’t even cross a paved road till well past halfway. Also, I managed to neither over- or under-estimate the mileage. It came in at exactly what I expected. It was very hilly, though, and it included the highest point on the BCT, Nobscot Hill.


I really liked this sign. It feels old and, I don’t know, somehow reliable. I really trusted this sign. It’s a trustworthy sign.

View from Tipling Rock (click here to embiggen)

I had hoped to catch another glimpse of the Boston skyline from up here, but it was quite a hazy day. In fact there were showers predicted for the afternoon, and it felt very damp. Tippling Rock, by the way, has a theory. Several, in fact…

Tipple has two meanings: one is a device for unloading freight cars by tipping them and the other is to consume liquor. The favorite theory is that the boulder on top of the outcropping used to tipple, as in rock back and forth. One theory is that the native Americans would tipple it to send sound thru the rock for communication.

Ironically, the rock is no longer in danger of tippling. It was blasted apart sometime in the early 40s by a local farmer who was afraid it would be pushed over by rowdy teens onto his cows. Or something. There are many theories…

Observation Tower

And here’s the highest point on the Bay Circuit Trail, Nobscot Hill. The guide describes it as having no view unless there’s a friendly ranger in the tower. Alas, there didn’t appear to be anyone home today.

Ford’s Folly

I was actually surprised that the trail mileage came in at exactly what I had estimated because I took a little detour off-trail to view this massive stone dam called “Ford’s Folly.” It wasn’t much of a detour; maybe a 4/10s mile lollipop loop. Worth the trip, though. This is quite the structure. And the Ford of the name is indeed the famous Henry Ford. It seems he bought up the Wayside Inn (oldest operating inn in Massachusetts; founded in 1761 as How’s Tavern; made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and the surrounding property, which included a grist mill. He decided that the mill needed more water to operate properly, so he built a massive stone dam, which was never able to hold water. The stream it dammed was a small intermittent stream, and apparently the ground beneath it is too porous to hold water anyway. Also, I guess for liability purposes, there is a double chain-link fence across the top of the dam. It’s passable, though, and still very cool.

Gypsy Moths Laying Eggs

As an aside, I noticed that the gypsy moth caterpillar damage is really quite extensive through here; much worse than in my local area. I wonder if the fungus has not made its way this far north? I mean, the stupid male moths were just everywhere. I made a special point of squashing any that came across my path.

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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