Hiking the Fells

Beta and Butter leading the way
Beta and Butter leading the way

Beta and I seem to be the more adventuresome side of the family.  Today we went hiking in the Middlesex Fells Reservation because we’d never been.

For our first look-around, I chose to start near the off-leash area at the Sheepfold, thinking we might be able to let Butter off her leash for a bit.  Sadly, the area is not fenced in at all, and she won’t come on command when there are any distractions.  (Butter will come when called at home, she’s not totally devoid of training, but the possibilities of squirrels and other dogs and dead things to roll around in are just too much for her to resist.)

From the Sheepfold parking area, there’s a straight shot up to the Bear Hill observation tower (about a mile) so we headed up.  The view from the top is impressive.

Beta brought along a book to identify animal tracks, and we found some animal tracks that were neither human nor dog — we think they were bobcat.

Unbeknownst to me Beta did NOT bring socks, however, and her waterproof boots quickly gave her a blister.  We discovered this at the tower, so we turned around and headed home a bit earlier than I had planned.  She promised me that she would bring socks next time, and she was so miserable by the end of the hike that I kind of believe her this time.  I think she enjoyed the hike otherwise, though.


With Meghan working at the Lego store for the afternoon, Alpha, Beta, and I decided to go roller skating.  I haven’t been since before I got married, Beta has only been once, and Alpha has never been.

We went to Roller World in Saugus, since Beta had been there once with friends and liked it.  It’s also not too far and had good reviews on Google.  They offer a choice of roller skates or -blades (for a few dollars more).  We elected to rent roller blades instead of skates, to make backwards tipping a little less likely.

Beta took off after a moment of getting used to the skates again, while Alpha spent a few minutes just trying to stand.  I had my own troubles but got going soon enough.

Alpha and Beta skating together
Alpha and Beta skating together

After a little while, the most amazing thing happened: the sisters started helping each other out.  Alpha was still a little unsteady on her skates, so Beta stepped up and tried to help her out.  They did a few laps around the floor together as Alpha slowly worked away from the wall.  I’ve seen the “sisters-against-the-world-thing” in other people, but I’ve had my doubts that these two would ever bond like that.  I’m glad to see that I was wrong.

After a couple of big spills (but no injuries) we decided to head out.  We were all surprised to find that we had been there for a couple of hours – even I could have sworn it had only been an hour.  Time flies when you’re having fun!  The girls spent the ride home talking about going back and buying roller blades for themselves.

Swimming in Beverly

On one of the last warm days in September this year, Beta asked me ever-so-sweetly to take her swimming.  Silver Lake smells terrible at the end of summer (and that day was no exception), and, though Beta insisted that she didn’t mind the smell, I refused to take her there.  The ocean was the only option!  Meghan had to work on a book and Alpha didn’t feel like swimming, so Beta and I piled into the convertible and headed out.

One the closest spots we can go to see the ocean is Lynch Park in Beverly, MA.  I picked it by browsing on Google Maps.  We’d never been there, and didn’t know what to expect.

Lynch Park Beach

The water was cold and a little dirty (natural dirt, not pollution) so I elected to stay out, but Beta (and some paddle-boarders) braved the water.  The park itself is gorgeous, with a spectacular view of Salem.  There’s an amphitheatre, a short walkway along the ocean, and a broad expanse of grass for people to plan on.

We spent a couple of hours there until the air started to turn chilly, and then took the long way home to avoid the traffic snarls on I-95.