Tuesday, June 26, 2007

North Weymouth & MAINE

Well, I'm sopping wet typing this. I am shirtless, my gut is in full effect, I'm sticky-icky and I'm blasting Slayer. The temps hit 90 today and my first venture into Hingham was a fun albeit moist day. But maybe I should catch up on my posts first.

About a week and a half ago I headed up to Kittery, ME, the first town over the New Hampshire state line, and did a short walk. I have a few friends who live there, some who do off and on, the majority of whom I met in high school, and seeing as they live right on the water, thought I'd drop by to hang out and get a walk in while they finished up work.

Getting off 95 at Route 1, I got to take a drive through downtown Portsmouth, NH, a really gorgeous little city with a lot of history and quite possibly the only decent urban area of
New Hampshire. Be sure to stop by if you're ever in the area. My friend Shaun was slated to pick me up after I was done which was nice because I didn't have to bike this time. Maine begins on Badgers Island,

a miniscule, two-road chunk of land. Aside from a pizza place and some houses, there is very little on Badgers Island. I got around the coastal half in about ten minutes and then crossed the bridge into Kittery Foreside. Mostly residential, I was ducking docks and trudging through some moist stuff when I realized that I had almost walked into the Portsmouth Naval Base! I knew it was there in advance but totally forgot about it even after I had told myself specifically not to forget. In either case, I looked like the sketchiest kid alive walking around the fence back to the road. Thankfully, the guard at the station was really nice and accepted my apologies for being on the property.

After avoiding a trip to the Kittery Police Station, I continued around the Foreside and over the bridge to Kittery Point. I ended at Fort McClary State Park where Shaun and Benny picked me up and drove me back to the island to get my car. All in all a short and uneventful day with a wondrous revelry that night.

Upon getting back to Massachusetts the next day, my good friend Jon Curtiss and I went bridge to bridge and conquered North Weymouth in one day, a most enjoyable affair. We started maybe 1/4-mile from the bridge to Quincy, decided to skip trying the perimeter of a heavily fenced brick fort next to the bridge, and looked for the closest shoreline. We dipped behind a house and began a rather moist day as the tide was on its way into Kings Cove.

After passing a small private beach, we made it along the northern strip of land that borders the Weymouth Fore River. The seawall had nautical flags painted on it and in 6-foot letters: 1902 -- WESSAGUSSET -- 2002. According to Wikipedia, Wessagusset was Weymouth's original name when it was colonized in 1622 as a place for population overflow at Plymouth. The colony fell apart one year later: widespread sickness from winter colds and rampant theft of supplies from neighbors caused the expulsion of all Wessagusset colonists. There have even been reports of some colonists robbing from native graves. There have been some subsequent ghost stories surrounding the burial grounds.

After walking Wessagusset Beach, we came around Jackknife Ledge and onto the Eastern Neck of North Weymouth. We arrived at William Webb Park, the northernmost point of the town and the site of a gorgeous peninsula home to some great fishing. Upon coming down the eastern shore, we ran into two guys, a woman, and 4 kids of scattered ages not exceeding 8. The larger guy called out to us as we had almost passed.

"Hey! You got any papers?"
"No," I replied. "But I have a bowl."
"Well let me pack that shit!" The guy seemed pretty intoxicated but I let him go for it. We sat down next to his friend who was trying to fix a fishing rod. Frail, early-aged, and toothless, the guy introduced himself as Kenny. I noticed he had old bandages and pretty severely scabbed gashes all over his hand.
"Damn," I exclaimed. "What happened to your hand man?" Kenny explained that he had lost a fight with a lawnmower. While all this is going on, I realize that we're drinking, swearing, and smoking pot right in front of these guys' kids. I tried to ignore this absurdly bad parenting but we instead made off on our way, thanking them for their company.

Now walking the banks of the Weymouth Back River (as opposed to the Fore), we accidentally walked through a live construction site, hopped on a condo complex walkway for a second, cut through the Tern Harbor Marina, and went back and forth between backyards and main road River St. Cutting through another condo complex we finally arrived at Abigail Adams Park, a park commemorating the 2nd First Lady of the United States, who lived in what is now nearby Braintree. We met a homeless man who had just consumed half a watermelon and convincingly told me he was good friends with the Needham Police Chief. We walked away, I biked back to my car, stupidly detouring through very steep Great Hill Park, and ended an awesome first non-solo day. Thanks so much to Jon Curtiss for coming along this day. Come on out again soon!

Until next time, see you on the coast.

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