West Barnstable Conservation Area
West Barnstable, Ma.
November 29, 2009
The West Barnstable Conservation Area is 1,114 acres of mix woods trails. There are several entrances and parking areas, with the main parking area and entrance off Race Lane in West Barnstable. We chose to hike the trails near the power lines and parked in the small area along Chase Road in Sandwich. The trail leaving the parking area is the North Ridge Trail.
We marked off a 3-mile loop that we wanted to hike.
After a slight hill it soon becomes apparent that there are several side trails. These trails are not marked, but they parallel the power lines which makes it easy to stay pointed in the right direction.
Rocks left behind by the glacier are scattered throughout this area.
Topping the hill at this boulder, without leaves on the trees, there is a nice view to the south.
A tree house was once in these trees. It appeared that time brought it down.
Just beyond the fallen tree house is a trail intersection. The path to the right is washed out.
The trail continues along a ridge of mixed woods.
The main trail turns right and is marked with an arrow. The path straight ahead looked like it would lead us toward Crocker Road, which we were looking for so as to make our hike a loop.
After a quarter mile the path meets Crocker Road.
The trail intersects Crocker Road just north of where Farmersville Road and Crocker Road meet. These interior dirt roads are not open to vehicle traffic. However, there are horse tracks and bicycle tire tracks from earlier use.
Crooked Cartway forks to the right. We walked down Crocker Road which is the left fork.
After crossing to the north side of the power lines the road once again forks. Maple Road is to the right. We stayed on Crocker which was the left fork.
About 50 feet after the fork there is a sign warning hikers of the West Barnstable shooting range. We could hear gunfire thoughout most of our hike, from the deep blast of large gauge shotguns to the popping of hand guns. This sign is at the entrance of an unmarker trail. However, from the sounds of the gunfire, the range was ahead on Crocker Road. We turned left back into the woods at the sign.
This rock was across from the trail. Someone spent some time and money to chisel the name on it.
The main trail continued to our right, but that was in the direction of the shooting range. We chose to head down the hill on the trail that went left.
Once down the hill across a small hollow the trail climbed again to this large boulder that ice has split in two over many years.
Chris couldn’t resist climbing on the boulder. It had a nice spot for sitting right on top.
With all the noise, it would be impossible to forget that the shooting range was over two hills to our right. Still, the trails have plenty of signs warning hikers not to get too close.
Without trail markings and the many side trails, it is easy to wander around in this area, but the power lines are often visible. There is evidence that at one time there were blue trail markings on some trail in the area, but they have fadd quite a lot.
There are rare arrows on the trail but there is nothing to indicate what they point toward.
As the trail returned to the power lines we found an old rusted steel 375 gallon fuel oil tank tossed into the woods. The bottom has been cut off. It has obviously been there for a long time.
Back on the power lines we had a short walk back to the parking area along Chase Road.
It took Chris and I about an hour and 40 minutes to make the 3-mile loop. I’m sure several times we were off the main trail as there is no way to identify which is the main trail. Still, with no leaves on the trees it is often easy to see the power lines and not be lost. It was a cool morning, about 45 degrees, but with the rolling hills it was easy to stay warm.
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