I don't dare think that we're done with winter yet, but today's 50-degree temps are very encouraging. I headed to Gilson Road in Nashua to see how the rail trail is faring, and I ended up getting all the way to Rt. 113 in Pepperell before heading back home.
We can't declare ice-out just yet. About half the trail has snow cover. In the early afternoon of a sunny & warm day like this one, the snow is soft & crunchy, not too deep, not requiring boots. Travel was much easier for me than for the many bicyclists who were out today, but even they seemed to be having a good time. It was an outdoor kind of day. My guess is that early mornings after sub-freezing nights would NOT be a good time to visit this trail, but once the sun gets up there & softens the surface, no problem. This should be a warm week, so a lot of the snow may be gone by next weekend.
Damage from the windstorm 10 days ago seems to be under control. I saw several places where volunteers had cut up & moved aside branches that had fallen onto the pavement. Snow-free sections of trail are covered with pine cones shaken loose by the wind.
The city of Nashua still has the Gilson Road parking lot chained off for the season, so I parked on the roadside. Many more cars were parked on 111-A.
I had hoped to find the Rail Trail Ice Cream Shop open in East Pepperell, but from across 113, I didn't see the "open" flag flying. Oh, well, another month will take care of that.
Just two weeks ago, I snowshoed in the New Ipswich woods in winter's loveliest powder, and today I'm wearing sneakers for an 8-mile walk. Great days, either way.