First thing I noticed was the welcoming committee of robins, over a dozen of them flitting around Kelly Memorial Park on a mid 40-degree February morning. According to Mass Audubon, the common songbirds are either overwintering here or came down earlier in the season from more northern New England points or Canada. They thank you for your backyard feeders. The next hello came from a friendly and photogenic pup, emerging from the woodland path. Behind him, a walker on crutches, despite the icy conditions. Encouraged, I strapped on my Yaktrax and started my 1.6-mile loop walk from Kelly Memorial Park, through Boulder Brook Reservation, to the top of of the rocky ledges, then back down via a short border-jump over to Weston, and back to the Elmwood Road parking lot.
For this hike, I followed the purple arrows. There are many off-shoot paths in the Kelly Field and Boulder Brook areas, which is what makes the spot so popular with kids and families who want to get out and run around in nature. But for today, I kept to the path most traveled.
The path opens up to a view of the Kelly Field, and Katharine Lee Bates elementary school beyond the playing fields. In warmer weather the field is full of teams taking advantage of the four baseball diamonds and multiple soccer areas. I stayed to the left and walked along the paved part of the path that continues on behind the baseball backstop and along Boulder Brook.
As I entered the woods, I kept an eye out for Elephant Rock on the left, another great climbing rock for kids. From here, I was headed to Rocky Ledges, a popular spot to see the sunset in Wellesley.
Once over the bridge, I took the trail to the right and found the base of the rocky ledges. This was probably the hardest part of the hike in terms of finding the trail. It was also maybe a little ill-advised of me to keep going given the icy conditions, but I’m stubborn that way.
On my way down I skirted Weston, as you can see by the trail marker that features a green pine tree on a white background. This was a steep section, made more challenging by the ice. Very few people have been down this way lately.
Once I made it to the bottom of the ledges, I picked up the purple trail once more, kept to the right, and retraced my steps back over the Eagle Scout bridge.
I kept to the left of the bench and headed back toward the meadow.
As I retraced my steps through the meadow, the robins showed up again and kept me company until I re-crossed the Boulder Brook bridge, back to the Kelly Field area. The hike took about an hour. I’ll be back in the spring, when the robins will be joined by many other species of birds and other wildlife.