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Cutler Park, Needham

We went to Cutler Park in Needham, Mass. on Sunday. It's the "largest remaining fresh water marsh on the middle Charles." That's right, a big ol' swamp, just outside of Boston, and we went after a couple days of solid rainy weather. It actually sprinkled on us a bit, but waited to pour until after we were done slogging hiking. This little building is peeking out of some of the tallest garlic mustard I've ever seen.

A long, straight boardwalk crosses the biggest cattail marsh I've ever seen.

One path is actually the area mowed beneath the power lines, and it was flooded in several spots.

The commuter rail runs through the park, so the path continues on a tunnel under the tracks.

Where some of the most talented graffiti painters I've seen in the Boston area have their work up.

cottonmanifesto and rockbalancer, who have much better cameras than mine, took pictures of beautiful tiny things.

Pathetic improvised boardwalks were like playing Russian roulette with your foot dryness. This board fully submerged when stepped on.

Charlie found lots of grass and sedge to eat.

There were thousands of these flowering shrubs, which I initially took to be blueberry, but now I think I'm wrong. Do you know what it is?

My muddy feet.

Charlie's muddy feet.

A railroad bridge had some more decent graffiti. Notice the face on the upper right.

Alexis photographing the cattail swamp boardwalk on the way back.

This is my attempt to capture the vastness of it. On the left you can see the traffic on Rt.95, the loop highway that encircles greater Boston.

Where the professional boardwalk ends and the improvised boardwalk begins.

Visit at your own risk! ;) We encountered a group of young men at this point, and while we stood to the side to let them pass, they minced carefully across. One plunged a white sneaker into the muck and whined that he wanted to turn back. They cracked me up with their carefulness and fear of mud. Hope they made it out before the downpour!

Alexis' pictures of the day are here, featuring ferns, lichens, fungi, a slug, and a group of bird's foot violets.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
HA HA HA! omg, i forgot that those guys were out there for the rain. SUCKERS!
May. 23rd, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
This is terrific... I need more slog-hikes like this one.
May. 23rd, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
Um, yeah, and ditto on the 'suckers!' about the guy in white tennis shoes. What'd you think, you were going to go play raquetball?
May. 24th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
I like the graffiti! I never would have seen the face if you hadn't pointed it out. I guess I really am an urban pagan - show me a marsh and I'm like, ooh, graffiti! No, the marsh was great, too! Messy, but great. Love the muddy feet pictures, too.
May. 25th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
Glad to see the garlic mustard wasn't taking over EVERYthing. I know it is swallowing my own yard right about now.

May. 30th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
I've vainly thought of this area as my private nature preserve. Glad you had a chance to explore it though. It reminds me of what I think African savannah might be like. It is a foreign landscape compared to what I'm used to in eastern Mass. I've flushed up a buck with 6 does, had many close encounters with deer and seen many interesting things. Harriers crusing just above the grasses, Blue-winged Teal with 60 Green-winged Teal in a hidden pothole. Great Horned Owls perched on aspen hunting out in the marsh. Rough-legged Hawk hovering overhead, the vast cattail marsh is teeming with Virginia Rail, furtively skulking just out of sight, fresh beaver cuttings, Northern Shrike, used to be a big crow highway through there before West Nile Virus, massive robin roost in winter and equally massive starling and other blackbirds roosting. The coyotes moved in force in the last 6 years, the deer are hidden more now but their regular trails are everywhere. Special place. A few weeks weeks ago I climbed some old Swamp Oaks in there, here are some photos:
Cutler swamp whites

May. 30th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for that! It makes me want to revisit, maybe early in the morning.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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