We had beautiful fall weather for a full day of hiking in Lynn Woods with 11 seventh grade boys and girls from St. Peters and Christine, a staff member from the teen center. The hikers included 5 volunteers from ICO – Chuck, Rucker, Irena, Laura and Keith.
We started the day with introductions and then Chuck provided an overview of Lynn Woods and the history of Dungeon Rock – a cave we planned to explore as part of the hike. Everyone was excited to hear that the cave had once been inhabited by pirates and that treasure had been hidden there and never found. After distributing water and food, the group received guidance on the principals of “Leave No Trace”, which can be found here. With this last bit of important information, the group set off with the sun shining and leaves falling from the trees.
The kids used maps of Lynn Woods to guide the group throughout the hike. They quickly brought us to our first destination - Dungeon Rock. Flashlights and headlamps were passed around and then we formed two groups for exploring the cave. While one group descended into the cave, the second group did some climbing on the rocks above. Although we didn’t find any pirates or treasure, the kids followed the cave as far as possible before it ended in a pool of water.
The kids again took the lead and successfully brought the group to the Stone Tower, our second destination. The Stone Tower had been opened for the group and we clambered up the circular iron staircase – nearly 50 feet above the ground below. We were treated to beautiful views in all directions, including the trees and ponds of Lynn Woods, the Boston skyline and the Atlantic Ocean.
All that hiking and climbing had worked up the kid’s appetites, and we stopped below the tower for a healthy and delicious lunch of peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese and fresh fruit and veggies. While we were enjoying lunch we saw a few fellow hikers, mountain bikers and even people looking to do some bouldering.
Our next destination was the Steel Tower, and the kids led us on a steep and twisty single track trail toward the tower. On the way we saw parts of the forest that had recently been burned – the ground was covered with ash and still smoking. The kids learned that the fires were started intentionally to clear brush and leaves from the forest floor. We enjoyed the pleasant smell of wood smoke all the way to the tower.
The kids found a resting spot with a wonderful view of the Boston skyline at the Steel Tower. The group decided to take a break and a few people took short naps while relaxing on large rocks that had been warmed by the sun.
After a short break on the rocks, we decided to head back to the van as the day was getting late. The kids led the group back to the parking lot where our hike began. We finished the day with a closing circle where everyone had an opportunity to tell the group about their favorite part of the day. There were quite a few different favorites, but hiking in the cave appeared to be the most popular. All in all it was a beautiful day.
Pictures from the trip can be found here: http://www.bostonico.org/apps/photos/album?albumid=14136231