Take a Hike! Gates Pond

When we moved to Utah, I connected with others through the moms club and La Leche League. That worked very well for that time of our lives and for that time of the year (March).

Now that we have two kids and we’re getting deep into this homeschooling stuff, and it’s summer (and the local LLL groups are on hiatus for the season), I’m taking a different approach to settling into Massachusetts.

For me and the kids, I’ve noticed that our best days are almost always outdoors days. To help facilitate more “best days” and to make up for the ridiculous amount of driving we’ve been doing here, I’ve decided that every day we’ll either go hiking or to a playground (or both).

Due to an odd series of events, I’ve found myself leading a homeschool hiking group here for four weeks while the regular facilitator is out of town and/or entertaining guests. Because I didn’t really know the area nor did I know any hikes when I volunteered to lead the group, I decided going out with the kids on some local hikes would be a good idea. Plus, I love hiking with my kids. My daughter is a great hiker and it’s so fun seeing their reactions to the things we see on our hikes.

This week we did two hikes. Tuesday’s was to Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts. We did this one just me and the kids.

The hike around Gates Pond was about perfect for us. It was hot, but not horribly so, and the forest was nice and shady, so we were pretty comfy the whole time.

Gates Pond is actually a reservoir and it supplies water for the nearby town of Hudson, as dozens of signs along the trail reminded us. The trail is a 2.5-mile loop around the pond. It’s partially paved (black top) and is open to all manner of non-motorized travel.

We saw bikes and dogs, walkers and joggers, and we saw horse hoofprints and other—ahem—evidence of horses.

When we headed to the pond, I promised my children they would see frogs and turtles. Luckily, we happened upon this little guy, who helped me not be a liar:

My son rode on my back in the Ergo the whole time, but my daughter walked the entire 2.5 miles. I was very impressed! In addition to the frog, we saw raspberries, wild strawberries, rose bushes, and other evidence of a more agrarian past, like stone fences through the area.

There are no facilities at the trailhead, which isn’t ideal when hiking with little kiddos (I may have birthed the only boy ever who doesn’t like to pee outdoors. I suppose it’s better not to pee near a town’s water supply, anyway).

Aside from the potty issue, Gates Pond was a great destination for our family. It’s close by, very pretty, has excellent tree cover, is mostly flat, is a reasonable hiking distance, and it’s a loop so we can’t get lost. If I can swing it, I’d love to go back there for a jog one day.

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