Hiking the mountains and valleys of New England

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 8/22/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world."
- Paul Dudley White

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
- John Muir

Even the briefest examination of the sites listed below is bound to whet your appetite for hiking the trails of New England and perhaps induce you to go further afield to experience the glories of nature. The late summer and fall is one of the best times to "take a hike" in New England. Park your car and see the foliage as it was meant to be seen, climb one of the gentle mountains of New England and concur with Thoreau that "on the tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning".

Weather Underground
Before you set out, check the weather.

Gorp's hiking site. Try to ignore the annoying, multiple pop-up advertisements. However, Gorp has to try to make money in order to keep this great site up-to-date - regional guides (for all the states), trail finder (6,000 trails can be searched by trail length, keyword, season and city, state, park or forest location), national scenic trails (for example, 2170 mile Appalachian Trail, 1300 mile Florida National Scenic Trail), trail diaries and journals, hiking how-tos, gear ratings and reviews, books and maps, and much more. This site is a goldmine of information for hikers and backpackers.

New Hampshire hiking and backpacking guide.

Massachusetts hiking and backpacking guide - Cape Cod wildlife trails, the Berkshires, Mohawk Trail, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, and more.

Appalachian Trail Conference
Web site of the private, volunteer organization dedicated since 1925 to building, protecting, and managing the Appalachian Trail for the public. "From Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail wanders the ridges and valleys of the Appalachian range for more than 2,168 miles."

Mt. Monadnock
Hiking trails on Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire - map and descriptions. Mt. Monadnock is the most climbed mountain in the world. I understand that Mt. Fujiyama in Japan lost that distinction after a road was built to the summit.

Appalachian Mountain Club
The official Web site - guide to the Northeast outdoors. The Club promotes the protection, enjoyment, and wise use of the mountains, rivers, and trails of the Northeast. The site is very useful for lodging, camping, and outdoor activities (paddling, hiking and backpacking, nature walks, and snow sports) information. The site provides bunk availability for two week periods at the AMC huts (including the eight high mountain huts along the Appalachian Trail) and description of the accommodations.

National Park Service
Links to all the national parks. Select "hiking" and "all states" and you'll obtain a list of 234 parks; limit the search to Massachusetts and you'll obtain a list of five national parks. Climbers can get up-to-date conditions for mountains within national parks.

Boston Hiking Guide
Hiking areas near Boston -Maps and brief descriptions of the Blue Hills, Lincoln Conservancy, Lynn Woods, World's End, and two dozen more areas.

The Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation
In our own backyard. The Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation is an all volunteer organization with a mission to protect and preserve the natural and historic resources of the Fells. The site provides a description of the trails, and a history and description of the Fells.

The Web site of eastern Mountain Sports - information on the EMS climbing school, many links to internet resources on outdoor activities, and, of course, the online store where you can shop for all your outdoor needs.

Just for fun, read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, Broadway Books. From a review: "If you're a veteran trailblazer, or an overstuffed potato with a light dusting of chives, Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods is for you. It's a 274-page account of the author's attempt to cover the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, by foot or by taxi cab, and the laughter it provides alone would make it worth buying."

Previous columns with live links can be found at www.winchestermass.org/wstar

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (www.winchestermass.org), Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist or at the Packer tennis courts.
E-mail: mvz@alum.mit.edu.