Thursday, May 24, 2007

Green Hill Park Letterbox

This box was planted for International Plant a Letterbox Day, May 24, 2007, and is my very first plant! Let me know if you enjoy the hike!

First, a little bit about Green Hill Park. In 1903 the Green family donated the Green Hill area
land to the city of Worcester, making Green Hill Park the largest in the city. It is over 480 acres and houses a number of activities and facilities. It contains two ponds, a zoo, picnic grove, playground, little league field, golf course, and handball courts and in June 2002, city and state leaders dedicated the state's Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Open from 5am-10pm; Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, and even mountain-bike friendly! There are no trail maps available, but there are trail markers and/or blazes on most of the main trails. You really can’t get lost in these lonely woods bordered by Route 9, Worcester State Hospital and the Green Hill Golf Course.

From Route 9 Westbound: Follow Route 9 West into Worcester (Crossing over Lake Quinsigamond) Route 9 becomes Belmont Street. After you cross the lake, go through 3 sets of traffic lights, passing the Picadilly Pub at the 3rd on your left. Take a right at the next (4th) light for Skyline Drive/Green Hill Park. Follow Skyline Drive into the park, passing the Golf Course and park in the playground parking area.

For directions to Skyline Drive from other starting points, please consult

Walk left out of the playground parking lot and back up the sidewalk on Skyline Drive. Cross the street and take a right into the woods at the Concrete Marker w/Yellow Blaze. Follow the yellow-blaze path up the hill and through the woods, take the third path on the right to gaze out at the shallow pond. Here you can see pollywogs and frogs and other small aquatic life!

Back to the path we go, cross Skyline Drive to the sidewalk and go right towards the entrance to the park. Shortly before the end of the wooden guardrail, take a left into the woods at the Park HQ Spur sign on the tree. Don’t go to school, and take a left at the next T intersection. Cross a the stream, and continue on towards the water tower.

When you reach the water tower, take a left. At Y intersection and East Side Trail tree sign, go North towards the right following the Blue Blazes. Stop at the old rock columns, and carefully look off to notice the old stone wall that goes off into the woods, my inspiration for the stamp. The glaciers left a lot of smaller rocks which the farmers used to line their property and clear their fields for farming at the same time, making thousands of wonderful stone walls throughout the New England woods.

Follow this blue-blazed trail for a short while until the slope on the right decreases, look for a Red-Blazed-tree and a sign for the Ledge Loop trail on the right. Take this right down the hill. Once you see the old U-shaped foundation, count the red blazes on the trees. Stop at the FOURTH blaze! Turn to your left and you'll notice a large area of boulders bordering the left edge of the trail. (Note: Many hunters stopped when they saw the old foundations, but you aren't there yet, you must keep going on the red trail and watch for BIG BOULDERS that can't be moved by hand.)

You'll know you are in the right place if it looks like a nice spot to sit and stamp in! Your letterbox will be found very close to the trail and that last blaze, on the left of the rock formation, hidden inside a miniature cave behind a triangle shaped rock.

Now that you've got your quarry, continue on the red-blazed trail. It is not traveled much, and thus is a slim rabbit trail through the woods. Follow until you reach the yellow/blue intersection, and take a right onto the Yellow-Blazed trail to the Worcester State Hospital Cart Path. Take a right when you meet the main trail and enjoy the two open granite areas where you can view the Clock Tower and Shrewsbury off in the distance.

Follow this cart path, which turns into a fire road right up the hill. Shortly you will see the water tower again, take the left before the water tower, and head back to Skyline Drive (don't go to school, take the first right after the stream, when you see the school). Back at Skyline Drive, go right and then cross to stop and look at the pollywogs again. Follow the Yellow-Blazed trail to the end, then take a left and you'll be back at your car.

While you’re here, why not continue down to the main parking lot to see Green Hill Pond, visit the Vietnam Memorial or feed the ducks?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In The Beginning

This is the beginning of a new era, a place to keep stories of my letterboxing adventures. I'll try not to bore you.

I first read of letterboxing in 2003 while researching a jetty in Rhode Island on the internet. I just wanted to know how long the jetty was, when I found a website listing a letterbox hidden in that same jetty I had just walked on. Hmm...letterbox? This in turn brought me to Since I was already a hiker, I knew this would be fun, but I had no idea how much fun.

At the time, college demands kept me to finding only a one or two boxes per year. Now that's behind me and I'm able to spend my time how I like, instead of studying. In the year since graduation, I have found 15 boxes, so my find rate is improving.

The neatest thing to me about this hobby, is all of the interesting places I've visited that I never knew existed. I keep my boxing pretty local, within 20 minutes of home, and have found great hiking within 5 minutes of home! Metrowest Boston has a lot to offer, there are many conservation properties around, probably right in your back yard and you've never even been there.

My new favorite hike is in Westboro, at Cedar Hill/Sawink Farm. This little gem featuring a glacier-formed drumlin (Cedar Hill) happens to be within walking distance of my former workplace. I worked there for 10 years and never knew this area was there. How tragic that it took me this long to find it. I've found both boxes here, but still come back anyway!