Winter In The Deep Woods

By HHA Member Tom Helmer

February of 2014 has really made itself unwelcome in that portion of New England which does not depend on skiing or snow plowing for sustenance. I believe we have had 5 major storms this month, and it’s only the fifteenth. But snow is a minor inconvenience to the men and women of the Hopkinton Conservation Commission.

While much of their time has been spent in marking and mapping a major new trail system nearby, (Please see “Making The Hoxsie Trail”) they were concerned this day with flagging an interconnecting trail link on The Hopkinton Land Trust’s “Brown Homestead” property which will allow several existing trails established by HLT and several others to connect with the new Hoxsie trail due to open this summer.

When this work is completed, the forested area crossed by Hopkinton’s North Road, Old Rockville Road, Stubtown Road, Lawton Foster South, Lawton Foster North and Canonchet Road will allow hikers far more trails than can be covered in a single day’s most determined hiking pace.

And this area has spectacular topography to hike! Go mink oil your boots!



Much of the forested landscape has never been plowed, as it is too rough and rocky. As a result, there is a remarkable legacy of Colonial and Indigenous Archaeological Features waiting quietly, without signs or guide maps, for those hikers who have developed the eye to “See” the past amid the jumble of Glacial debris.

If you are planning to come out to this area of Hopkinton, I strongly urge you to spend some time on the web page “Seeing The Narragansett Presence” and “The Fisher Property’s Indigenous Presence”. These pages are designed to help you see, learn, and respect the spiritual and cultural importance of these precious examples of our common history.

These things are not in a museum. They confront you in the wild, not in a “History Zoo”. And the time you might choose to spend in educating yourself further about the Indigenous Tribes and customs which are still very much a part of today’s world will be well spent, as much of what passes for “Indian History” in our schools is myth and cartoons, not based on historic facts.

But for now, here is a photographic record of 3 hours spent under threatening skies on one of the Hopkinton Land Trust’s Public Properties, “Brown Homestead”, at the end of Lawton Foster South. You make the slide show play by hitting the VCR style Arrow in the shadow box at the picture’s bottom center. As there are large captions, this show changes pictures every 7 seconds. You can pause it, or you can manipulate the time slider to cycle faster or slower, to suit your needs.

Please note the snowshoes in the opening group picture of Marne, Mike, Irene and Harvey, with Tom behind the camera.