EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 23, 2014

Let's take a hike

Friends of North Andover Trails starts Sunday walks in the woods

NORTH ANDOVER — Now that spring is here, the Friends of North Andover Trails are challenging people of all ages to get out and hike through the town’s many scenic vistas.

The group plans to offer a guided hike at least once a month, president Glen Aspeslagh said. They typically take place the first or second Sunday of the month, he added.

Friends of North Andover Trails has been around for about 12 years and now boasts 36 members, Aspeslagh said.

“We are always looking for new members,” he said, and to join, one need only visit the organization’s website, FONAT.org.

“Our mission is to preserve and support North Andover’s trail system,” he said. They maintain the town-owned trails and promote awareness of them, he added. Popular hiking locations include Osgood Hill, Weir Hill, the Mazurenko Farm Conservation Area on Bradford Street and Harold Parker and Boxford state forests.

The group also organizes work days on which volunteers clean the trails and mark them if needed. The next work day is scheduled for May 3 at the Essex County Greenbelt property at Bruin Hill, which is off Winter Street.

The next guided hike, a tour of vernal pools is scheduled for Sunday, April 27, Aspeslagh said.

During a recent Sunday hike, fickle weather failed to stop a dozen hikers from trekking through the woods of Harold Parker State Forest and making their way to Sudden Pond. The hike was about three and a quarter miles and took two hours to complete.

The forecast indicated it would be a sunny day – but then the rain started falling in the morning. By the time the hike got underway at 1 p.m., the rain had stopped but the sky was still cloudy and hinted at the possibility of more precipitation.

The hikers, however, were eager to check out the pond and enjoy the woods while en route. Aspeslagh called Sudden Pond a “hidden gem.” There is no development around the pond so it’s pretty much in its natural state, he noted.

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