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The Beauty of Gate 29

The Beauty of Gate 29
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I have hiked the Gate 29 road off Route 202 in New Salem, Massachusetts, at the north end of Quabbin, more than any other. One night, a friend and I hiked the 2.5 miles to the end. A full moon bathed the fields with a bright, eerie light. We hid ourselves in the shadows as I got ready to howl in an attempt to call some coyotes into view to photograph them. Before I could even sound a note, they appeared in the field before us.

Wildlife viewing and the possibilities for photography are endless. At the first four-way intersection, the sentinel sugar maples on the right beckon you into a time long ago. Farther down the road and east along the power lines, the climb to the top of Rattlesnake Hill rewards you with a rare panoramic view looking east and south over the reservoir and its surrounding forests.

For solitude, there is a hidden wetlands just east of the Gate 29 road, between the four-way intersection and the power lines, where otters play and that beavers call home. On the west side of this wetlands is the largest single-stem white pine in Quabbin. The very end of the road leads you to the edge of the great waters of the reservoir, where the path simply disappears into its depths.

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