In September I was in Boston again and went back to Concord and Walden Pond that I first visited in March: ‘In 1845 Henry David Thoreau built himself a cabin in the woods beside Walden Pond in Massachusetts and started the process which led to “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” in 1854.’ In that post I talk about what Thoreau said and did, and here I’m just adding more photos and videos from September with enough of a description to identify them.
I stayed overnight in the Colonial Inn, which dates back to 1716 as houses, and is in the centre of Concord. Thoreau’s family lived in one of these houses during his time at Harvard. The yellow trolley was outside Concord Lumber and is identical to the one I use at Century Wood – a symbol of the pervasive globalisation which Thoreau’s description of Walden Pond ice being sold around the world foreshadowed. The third picture was taken in the Concord Library.
Then the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers, which continue as the Concord River; boats by the Concord River from the Lowell Road Bridge; a squirrel and a tree eating a concrete fence post on the Reformatory Branch Trail; the white-painted Old Manse and the North Bridge near the climax of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 – the Old Manse was owned by the Emerson family and Thoreau’s mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson live there in 1834-5; the Robbins House, a museum to black inhabitants of Concord, with similar construction to Thoreau’s cabin, if a little more substantial and several times bigger.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house on the old Cambridge Turnpike to Cambridge (including Harvard College) and Boston; an early part off the Emerson Thoreau Amble which starts in the garden of Emerson’s house behind the garage, and goes all the way to Thoreau’s cabin by Walden Pond; the Amble has some good signage; and goes past Fairyland Pond in the Hapgood Wright Forest.
It was pouring with rain for much of my walk along the Amble, as you can see in this short video.
The site of Thoreau’s cabin, marked with granite pillars; a stone from Century Wood (washed carefully!) and my Macmillan copy of Thoreau’s book “Walden”; the Century Wood stone added to the cairn at the cabin site; a bicycle appropriately enough; the bridge across the neck of Wyman Meadow/Cove; Wyman Meadow is marshy ground this year – it cycles between a navigable cove extending the Pond, a marsh as now, and a meadow that can be grazed; the view of the Pond from Thoreau’s Cove with the bridge behind me.
The Main Beach at the east end of Walden Pond; views of the Pond, some of which show its clarity, with a tree trunk visible metres away from the shore; a fish eye lens view from the southwest shore line. This last picture was inspired by Thoreau’s observation:
A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.
I walked to the summit of Emerson’s Cliff, which I must admit was rather disappointing as there are no views due to the density of the tree cover. In Thoreau’s time, there would have been dramatic views of the whole Pond, the new railroad and off towards the Sudbury River and Fairhaven Bay. I went down the west side of the hill to reach Heywood Meadow, which like Wyman Meadow is currently a mixture of marshy ground and patches of open water. I startled frogs as I walked along its shore and captured one in a video. The Fitchburg Railroad embankment runs along the edge of Heywood Meadow, now a commuter railway.
Before the Sudbury River reaches the confluence that I photographed above, it enters the broad expanse of Fairhaven Bay shown in these pictures, and the following video.
Finally to the car park and visitor’s centre. The reconstruction of the cabin is just inside the main gate, and as in Thoreau’s house, has three chairs, a bed, a table, and a desk. There is a wood store at the back. The red fungal bracket is growing on a tree on the peninsula which sticks out into Goose Pond behind the car park. The peninsula is very wooded so it’s hard to appreciate the U-shape of the pond. In the visitor’s centre is a stamp and ink pad, with which I marked my Macmillan copy of Walden. The plaque marking the 1922 establishment of the Walden Pond State Reservation with land given by local families.