Maisy's first hike - Noon Hill Reservation - Medfield, MA - 12/19/10

Having just recently adopted Maisy from the local animal shelter, I had no excuse not to take her out for something of a hike this Sunday. It had warmed up a bit from the chilly temperatures in the morning and the snow that had been talked about all week was with the storm that went out to see. We had been doing progressively longer walks around home, but I wanted to get her out in the woods (plus I wanted to give our cats a break from having this stranger there for a few hours), so I settled on a couple of the loop trails at Noon Hill Reservation.

Noon Hill is in Medfield and consists of a couple of hundred acres of reserve. Noon Hill itself is a small hill (mountain? nah...) that offers a couple of views from near its summit. Nothing there is overly challenging, but for this area, I consider it a pretty good place to walk for a few hours.

The trails are all well maintained and marked, though like a lot of reservation properties trails are only marked by number signs, which can make navigation kind of difficult if you don't have a map of the property. I've been there a few times, but I still pull the map out a few of the trail intersections. Plus it helps you figure out which loop trails you want to cover. You can usually pick up a map at the trailhead, but I just print one off at home from their website.

Maisy and I decided to do the main loop over Noon Hill and then travel around Holt Pond. All told it's probably about 2 miles or so worth of walking. The vast majority is pretty level as you approach and then come back from Noon Hill, which is in the southeastern corner of the property. On thing I did notice on this trip was that they have better marked the route to the view on Noon Hill. Now there are signs at each intersection pointing the direction to the view.

The trail to Noon Hill is mostly along an old road, though I turn off that road to extend the loop at trail junction #4. That trails connects with another and then climbs Noon Hill from its northern side. This is a steeper, though shorter climb than if you were to stay on the main trail (old road). I like to descend via the road, I always head this way when I'm at the Reservation. If you follow the viewpoint signs, they'll take you up via the old road.

The descent on the road wasn't bad, though thanks to a big rain storm we had about a week ago, there was water everywhere and since it was so cold since then, that meant there was ice everywhere. You just had to take a few extra steps though to avoid it, but something to watch for since we seem to be having a cold winter without any snow. I'd imagine the ice is just going to expand over time.
From there we looped back to where we had left the old road and a short walk back towards the trailhead, we turned off (junction #1) and headed over to Holt Pond. We looped around the pond, enjoyed the scenery and then made our way back to the truck where Maisy finished up her first official hike.

She did great. We didn't try anything off the leash, but there was only a little pulling and after the initial "I've got to smell everything" she kept a good pace with me. We ran across several people and a couple of dogs and she did well with them too.

Here's to many happy hikes for the two of us!