November 14, 2023

Continued from last week…


There’s a trail here somewhere…


There are two fatal errors that keep great projects from coming to life:

1)Not finishing

2) Not starting

-Buddha Gautema


It is so nice to be able to spend some extended time with Phyllis again.  It would have been better if Christine could have joined us, a reunion of Waldo’s Walkers, but that’s not to be – at least not yet.  As we walk along, Waldo out on point, gleefully searching for the path we want to follow, Phyllis and I are catching up on all kinds of things.  We talk about Buddhism, a common interest, about her readjustment to being single since her husband, Lee, died, about my back pains, the current state of the war in Gaza and Israel, about a course she’s taking on anti-racism – basically anything and everything we can think of.  It’s wonderful to have a friend with whom you can discuss a bottomless pool of topics.  In the process, we leave Waldo to navigate where we need to go.  That, of course, is of questionable wisdom.

Soon, we find ourselves on a patch of ground, covered by dead leaves and pine needles, that doesn’t look much like a trail at all.  There is a group of people who maintain, in some sense, the Bay Circuit Trail and they provide an interactive map on the web that shows the trail and your GPS location.  Of course, that requires that you’re in a place that has adequate cellphone coverage.  I bring up the map and, sure enough, Waldo has taken us off-trail.  Phyllis and I shrug it off – this kind of thing happens almost every time we walk on the BCT.  The trail isn’t that well marked everywhere and we’re not always paying that much attention.  I use the map to get us back to the trail, but it’s not clear which way to go.  Of course, I choose the wrong way and we end up going in a loop.  We set off in the right direction and follow the map to be sure we stay on the trail.

In addition to needing to be in a place where there’s good cellphone coverage for this to work, you also have to have a cellphone battery that doesn’t die.  I have an external battery that I intended to bring for that very reason, but I forgot it.  So, once we’re back established on the trail, I turn off my phone and promise myself I’ll keep an eye out for where we’re going and watch for BCT markers.  Unfortunately, in some places where it looks like the trail branches off, we can’t find any markers.  I then turn on my phone again and follow the map.  This works until, distracted by conversation with Phyllis, I find we’re about to try to wade across a swamp.  I pull out the phone again and, yep, we’re off trail.  We bushwhack to where we need to be and continue on our way.

All in all, it’s a very pleasant fall walk.  The sun is out, the ground is pretty dry and the temperature is cool without being cold.  All the tan and yellow leaves and pine needles on the ground add to the autumn pastel colors, making where we go feel warm and welcoming.  There are places where we have to walk alongside streets and highways for a bit and we even have to stroll through the town of Walpole.  It’s a small town, with a population of 26, 383, and is close to Foxborough, where Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.  A quaint New England town, it’s like many that are out here in the hinterlands (18miles from Boston and 30 miles from Providence, RI).

My energy wanes a bit as the miles roll underfoot, but not so for Waldo.  He’s every bit as energetic as when we started and runs around at the front end of the leash, going this way and that, searching, forever searching, exploring what’s in front of him.  Ah, to be young…  Phyllis seems a bit tired too, but Waldo, he only has two speeds – on and off.

Eventually, we get back to the car – damn, it feels good to sit again.  My back is a little sore, but nothing like what it was before I got the cortisone shots.  It’s 3:35.  I start the car and drive around the building to the gate.  It’s closed and locked.  We look around and there’s no way out.  I call the police, tell them where we are and what’s going on and they say they’ll send someone around from the Water Department to let us out.  When a woman shows up, something like an hour later, she tells us they locked the gate at 3:30.  They didn’t know there was a car on the property and that we shouldn’t be where we parked anyway.  Whoops.  There is an unmarked widening in the driveway just outside the gate where visitors are supposed to park.  Well, damn.  It’s not like there are any signs around.  It all gets folded into the adventure of the day.  It keeps life interesting.

Phyllis, Waldo and I (and Christine if she can make it) plan on doing the next leg in four days.  We’re more than two-thirds of the way done with the BCT.  We probably won’t be able to finish before the first snow, but, unless something happens, we should be done in the spring.  Then we have to decide what trail to do next.

It’s really good to be back.


Waldo and Phyllis contemplating nature.



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