Saturday, June 9, 2007

First Day Back in Hough's Neck and Quincy nevermore!

So its been a while since I last posted. I've been in Japan, I had an amazing time, and have been slowly readjusting to this time zone. I've also been working a lot so these walks were from a week ago.

Looking for something a little more rustic than Charlestown, I dropped my bike off near the Germantown library in Quincy and headed back over to Wollaston Beach to finish things up. There was a lot less beach than I remember having left and as it was high tide the walk seemed to be going rather quickly. After passing the bridge by Merrymount Park to the west and encountering a few No Trespassing signs on boat docks, I came upon a sign barring my entrance to Chickatabot Beach saying I had to be with a Merrymount Association member. I went around the corner though and there was an unmarked entrance to the beach and a sign welcoming me to Adams Shore.

I had gotten a late start on the day but getting around Post Island and finally reaching Nut Island at the tip of Hough's Neck felt really good. I sat on a bench there dedicated to the memory of Patricia "Pat" Brennan who asked that the bench be placed there in her name as it was her favorite spot on Nut Island. The view of the Boston skyline is pretty unbeatable from there. There was also a lot to learn about it. There is apparently a 4.8 mile sewage duct that runs from Deer Island to Nut Island. The headworks facility in Quincy converts sludge to fertilizer pellets and then sells them to farmers: a great method of reuse in my opinion. The maintenance of these islands is run by Boston Harbor Islands, a division of the Boston Harbor Project. Apparently Boston Islands were once used as Indian internment camps during King Philip's War in 1675.

After Nut Island, I attempted to walk around what I now know is Quincy Great Hill, a steep tract of brambles and rock that I wasn't able to get around. I had to hop a fence and hike back to the road and followed the seawall until hitting Manet Beach where I met a woman searching for shells. When I got closer, there was a horseshoe crab crawling around slowly by her feet.

"I just saved that thing," she said. "He was on his back but he just didn't want me to flip him over. Thankfully I did." The crab had some sand on the top of his head and looked a little miffed. As I left the woman, I looked out over the whole beach which I now realized was filled with the skeletons of beached crabs that didn't make it. Digested by kelp and lining the shore, their bodies formed lines of debris from the receding tide. I continued around the south side of Houghs Neck, finally getting out of Quincy Bay and into Rock Island Cove. Rock Island itself was an interesting walk. Surrounded entirely by wetland, I encountered some moistness but was thankfully directed to a horse trail that went straight through the wetland.

I got back to the road after the trail and found another walking trail that led back to the edge of Germantown and right where my bike was! It was overall a nice day with very few hindrances.

The next day, I finally finished Quincy. I had a little blister action and some dampness but a good early morning Sunday stroll.

A good portion of the day was street walking. Continuing around Rock Island Cove, Germantown was pretty marshy so I was resigned to the sidewalk a fair deal. I finally came across a school, Snug Harbor Community School. I didn't know the age of the students as it is Sunday. They had No Trespassing signs there but they only applied while school was in session. Kinda makes sense, right? Either way the school looked overgrown, sort of run down and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't operational.

Coming up around the southeast side of Germantown, there were a variety of drab colored and dilapidated projects which are also home to one of the few stretches of beach in the Cove. Known as Gull Point, the beach itself was in subpar conditions, a mattress here, some cans there. A fish carcass nearly scared me half to death. Arriving in Town River Bay, I could see where I had left my bike across the water. It looked so close until I came upon the rest of the bay. It felt like a false peak when I go hiking!

I turned out to have not been in Germantown at this point--as some graffiti informed me--I was in Adams Shore, endearingly known as A-Shore. I got a kick out of that. I also came across a treehouse shoddily built with little materials but seemed rather sturdy nevertheless. I got back onto Sea St, the main road through the area, via a trail I found and made my way past the Quincy Police and Navy Operational Support Center. Coming upon the high school or at least what looked like one I avoided the marsh that invaded their back field and continued onto the parking lot. A cop turned in to the lot just as I did but gave me no hassle.

I wish the cop had warned me about where I was walking into though. Today was a day when topo maps would've been extremely handy. After finding a nice wooded trail through some light wetlands, the trail just sort of ended and the wetlands got a lot wetter. Thankfully I had my boots on but I went past ankle depth a few times and soaked my sock. I got away from the growing moisture from the tide coming in and tried to beeline through the forest. Brambles and prickers were everywhere and I ended up doing a lot of crescent kicks and stick whacks to get them out of my path. I finally emerged from that horrible thicket on a driveway for a hockey rink where a guy pointed me to a shortcut back to Sea St. I strolled past the Mt. Wollaston Cemetery and down through some car dealerships over to a small inlet where I grabbed some food and watched people fish.

After fueling up, I continued down 3A (or the Artery as most call it (pronounced "Ahtery")), got blocked by a security guard from entering a wharf/residential community, and walked to the Fore River Field. From far off I heard a lot of yelling in what sounded like an Eastern tongue. When I came up over the hill looking out on the field, there was a lively cricket match taking place which I watched for a few moments. I know very little about cricket but watching the bowler is always a treat for me when the Pakistani kids play at school. That street leads to the Mound St. Beach, a small plot of sand looking over the bay with the field behind. I ducked some docks in front of a small marina and then made my way back to my bike right before the bridge to Weymouth. A wonderful end to a long journey through a city I shall never see again.

The south shore trek continues. Until then, see you on the coast.

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