Boston hikers—here's some exciting news. Thanks to the organizing efforts of Councilor Kendra Lara and Mothers Out Front, eight free community hikes along sections of the Walking City Trail are being hosted through October!
We've taken the four sections of the WCT and cut them in half to yield eight shorter and public transit-accessible hiking routes, along which we'll be journeying over the coming weeks. This past weekend, we covered Section 1 from the Harvest River Bridge to Roslindale Village (the photo above was taken during our passage through Stony Brook Reservation.) Here are the upcoming community hikes we'll be taking, along with the dates and times:
SAT OCT. 8th: Roslindale Village to the Southwest Corridor
SUN OCT. 9th: Southwest Corridor to Jamaica Pond
SAT OCT. 15th: Jamaica Pond to Brigham Circle
SUN OCT. 16th: Brigham Circle to Esplanade Park
SAT OCT. 29th: Esplanade Park to Dewey Square
SUN OCT. 30th: Dewey Square to Bunker Hill Monument
These section hikes are not only a great opportunity to experience the Walking City Trail for the first time, but to offer direct feedback on how the trail and the green spaces through which it passes could be improved. Councilor Lara happens to be the chair of Boston's Environmental Justice, Resiliency, and Parks Committee, and these group hikes are all about strengthening the connections between Boston community members and public green space. We hope you'll join us on the trail soon. CLICK HERE to sign up for any of the free community hikes listed above.
It's....well....I can't even remember what day this is for Boston's latest heat wave. But I'm pleased to report that despite the swelter, the first Walking City Trail guided section hike was a blast. We met early in the morning at Adams Park and hiked Section 2 to Jamaica Pond, passing through the abundant shade trees at Arnold Arboretum, Bussey Brook Meadow, the Southwest Corridor, Franklin Park, and the Parley Vale before the heat became inferno-esque. (Sunscreen and LOTS of water helped as well.)
It was such a relief to finally be able to lead one of these guided hikes. The first hike along Section 1 of the Walking City Trail was scheduled for early July but it had to be canceled twice. The first cancellation was due to thunderstorms and the second one was instigated by a Covid exposure that I learned about the day before the rescheduled hike. (However, this didn't stop several folks who signed up for the Section 1 hike from doing it themselves, sans guide, and it sounds like they had a lot of fun out there.) Rather than try and shoehorn the Section 1 hike into the remainder of July or August, I decided to progress with the other scheduled section hikes.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the next Walking City Trail guided section hike is going down on Saturday August 13th! We'll be hiking Section 3 of the trail from Jamaica Pond to the Esplanade, tracing the path of Olmsted's Emerald Necklace but also taking a detour up and over Parker Hill, where some of Boston's most beautiful urban wilds await. Click here to visit the signup page for the hike. Admission is free, but donations are welcome and greatly appreciated.
Oh, and speaking of escalation, the Walking City Trail recently got some air-time on NPR's Here & Now! The lovely radio segment about the trail produced by WBUR's Cloe Axelson was recently re-aired on the national program. You can listen to it here.
This summer, I'm going to be leading some guided section hikes along the Walking City Trail. I'm thrilled to share the guided hike dates and the event signup page for the first of these hikes!
Sun 7/10 - Walking City Trail Section 1 Hike
Sat 7/23 - Walking City Trail Section 2 Hike
Sat 8/13 - Walking City Trail Section 3 Hike
Sat 8/27 - Walking City Trail Section 4 Hike
In the spirit of hiking, these guided hikes will be happening rain or shine! (Unless, you know, we're dealing with hurricanes or deadly heat waves.) We'll meet on a Saturday morning at the trailhead of the section we're going to hike, we'll commence the hike with plenty of stops for food, bathrooms, and checking out local oddities, and we'll finish hiking in the early afternoon.
Spots on each guided hike are offered through Eventbrite via a pay-what-you-want donation model. All of the proceeds will support the operating costs behind the trail website, as well as upcoming trail improvement projects such as a place-by-place guide to the green spaces visited along the Walking City Trail, a new section on bike access points, and more.
Here's the signup page for the Section 1 hike on Saturday July 10th!
Section 1 of the Walking City Trail is the longest and most rustic section of the Walking City Trail, so if lesser-known woodlands and waterways near Boston's southern border call out to you, do not miss this guided section hike! We'll rendezvous at the Capen Street MBTA trolley station before clomping into the nearby Neponset River Reservation forest on a hidden path to reach the Harvest River Bridge, where the Walking City Trail begins. The hike will be 7.6 miles long and our destination will be Adams Park in Roslindale Village, where plenty of restaurants await.
Nab your spot now, and watch your email for updates before the hike. I'll see you out there.
It's been one week since the Walking City Trail website launched and already, I've started receiving emails and texts from folks who've hiked sections of the trail or even knocked off the whole thing!
The first person to report finishing the entire trail in one go is a hiker by the name of Brett who sent me a message via the trail website over the weekend. Similar reports have rolled in from Twitter.
The trail has also been featured in two additional reported stories. First, Grecia White met up with me for an hike along Section 3 of the Walking City Trail and penned this story for streetsblogMASS.
I also linked up with Will Katcher along Section 4 of the trail, right outside the Massachusetts state house, and his trail story for MassLive just went online, expanding press coverage beyond Boston.
Thank you, Grecia and Will, and thanks to all the local journalists and producers who've helped put the Walking City Trail on the map for Boston area residents and visitors! The city hikers are coming.
This photo wasn't actually taken along the Walking City Trail proper. What you see above is the very short dirt path that connects from the MBTA's Capen Street trolley stop to the Harvest River Bridge, where the Walking City Trail officially begins. All of this is explained in the Section 1 trail directions, which some of you have probably downloaded today as the Walking City Trail website officially launches!
I've been running on mediocre sleep and a lot of hastily scrapped-together meals for the last few days, finishing the website while also juggling my freelance writing duties. But I'm excited to share two early pieces of Walking City Trail press.
The first is an interview that I did with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan of WGBH's Boston Public Radio, aka "Jim and Margery." CLICK HERE to listen to our conversation and read the recap.
The second piece of press is an essay about the Walking City Trail's origins that I wrote for WBUR. Last week, editor Cloe Axelson and photographer Robin Lubbock joined me for a climb up Parker Hill along Section 3 of the trail, and let's just say there's more coming from WBUR next week. A lot more. But for now, you can CLICK HERE to read my essay about how the trail began.
Next week, I'll be sending out the first Walking City Trail newsletter, which will include these press highlights AND some dates for guided trails section hikes that I'll be hosting on weekends this July and August. You can sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the home page.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go have a beer. And yes, I know it's 12:30pm on a Thursday.