New Meetup: FAN Hike: Oak Hill

From: FAN A.
Sent on: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:54 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for The FAN Alliance!

What: FAN Hike: Oak Hill

When: Saturday, April 24,[masked]:00 AM

Where:
Oak Hill Trail
87 Oak Hill Road
Littleton, MA 01460

Let's hike the Oak Hill trail. We went there last June. I hope going a couple months earlier, we will actually be able to see the panoramix view of Boston. It is recommended that you wear hiking boots and bring bug spray, suntan lotion and plenty of liquids.

About Oak Hill:
Oak Hill is a place to stretch your legs and mind as you walk its trails. This parcel is comprised primarily of oak woodlands with many trails - some of which are old and unmarked.

Trails:
Extensive, last remarked in 2004. Three principal trails marked red, black, and blue:

Summit trail (red markers) - Starts at the main entrance (parking lot) and brings you up to Summit Rock. Features include bedrock, a spring, and wagon wheel grooves worn into the rock (see History).Also, mountain laurel thickets (blooms in May/June) and beech tree grove. Scattered sassafras and American chestnut sprouts on the way to Summit Rock. The bedrock is made of granite pegmatite that has intruded into schist that makes up the core of the hill. This rock is more than 900 million years old.
Boundary trail (yellow markers) - Takes you from the main entrance (parking lot) to Tophet Chasm. Features include fine groves of gray birch and eastern hemlock as well as thickets of mountain laurel.
Interior Loop (blue markers) - A woodland trail on the north facing side of the hill.
The property is crossed by underground fiber optic cable lines. The Town of Littleton has a water tower near the top of the hill. A telecommunication tower is located adjacent to the water tower.

Features:
Summit Rock - 500 feet high, this rock provides a 180-degree panoramic view of Boston and the southeast.
Tophet Chasm - A temporary outlet carved out of rock for an extensive glacial lake about 15,000 years ago. Oak Hill is the northern tip of a long ridge of hills called Shrewsbury Ridge by geologists. In glacial times, the ridge acted as the eastern shore of a vast glacial lake, Lake Nashua. Its northern shore was the face of the melting glacier. At one stage late in the history of the lake, the water found an eastern outlet through a low weak fault area on Oak Hill. Here the rushing stream fell to carve a deep chasm. The head of the chasm was an ancient waterfall 120 feet high, only 38 feet less than the mighty Niagara's 158 foot drop. Today the falls are silent and the debris of the ages has filled part of the chasm floor so that the walls rise a somewhat lesser 80 feet - still enough to be impressive. The floor of the chasm contains a swampy area, known as Tophet Swamp. This quiet swamp, surrounded by steep bedrock cliffs, abounds in wildlife and vegetation. Dominant species include red maple, high-bush blueberry, hemlocks, black birch, ferns, and a sphagnum moss mat. (Tophet is an old term for "hell"or"place of fire.")
Historic stage coach roads - See description under the History section.

History:
Two stage coach lines crossed Oak Hill in the 1880s. The one from Acton entered Oak Hill at the present main entrance, skirted the hill just below the standpipe and met the Lowell-Worcester route which ran parallel to Harvard Road. They are now part of the hiking trails. You can note the grooves in boulders and ledges worn by the iron-bound wheels of the heavy coaches.

The land was purchased by the Town as conservation land in 1972 for $66,000.

http://www.littletonconservationtrust.org/guide/oak-hill/oak-hill.html

Location:
Near Littleton Depot, ? mile from the junctions of Route 2 and 495.

Map:
http://www.littletonconservationtrust.org/guide/oak-hill/oakhill-map.jpg

Parking:
Off Oak Hill Road.

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/New-England-Friends-Activity-Network/calendar/13187260/

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