Bay Circuit Trail Section 6

Posted By on May 23, 2017

Bay Circuit Trail Section 6

10.85 miles; North Andover and Andover, MA

Today’s hike was by far the best section to date. The Harold Parker State Forest was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me a lot of Arcadia. And that was only the beginning 3 miles or so.  And got my first glimpse of the Boston skyline. And at one point the trail crossed the grounds of the Phillips Academy in Andover, so I can say I went there. Perfect weather, too.

Aurochs Track?

Okay, maybe I’m just being silly, but these indentations in the rock here just looked to me like animal tracks. And what animal would have been around when this rock was mud to make tracks? I’m thinking aurochs. Yeah, I’m going with aurochs tracks. See? I’m telling ya, aurochs tracks.

Yarn Bomb

Who yarn bombs a tree in the middle of the woods?

My Old Nemesis

If you read the Bay Circuit Trail Alliance guide for this section, there is a part that reads:

Note: This area is sometimes flooded because of beaver activity. If this section is temporarily closed, signs will be posted to guide people around the flooding and back to the trail.

Yeah, no. Not today, beavers. I made it through without detours, thank you very much.

Gigantic Glacial Erratic

I know you can’t tell from the photo, but this is the biggest glacial erratic boulder I’ve ever seen. Seriously, like, 3 stories tall. YUUUUGGGEEE.

Poor Squirrel

No idea how this poor little guy died. Maybe he/she missed a jump? I’ve seen young squirrels miss.

Mary French Reservation

This part of the trail was amazing. Long, long boardwalks cross and re-cross the Skug River. I can’t even imagine how much work this was to build.


After a short road-walk, I passed from the Mary French Reservation into a Trustees of the Reservations property called Ward Hill. And it was a hill. I did a lot of climbing, and at the top, when I turned around to catch my breath, I saw the Boston skyline! First time on this whole hike I’ve seen it. I must have shouted in amazement, because a couple girls who were already at the top started laughing. I just wasn’t expecting it.

Fungus Shot

On a completely different note, I believe this is a Dryad’s Saddle mushroom, Polyporus squamosus. It was a little too old to collect, although I’m told it’s a nice edible.

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

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