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Trail Mix: nature activities in our area

Northfield Mountain

99 Millers Falls Road (Route 63), Northfield. 413-659-3714 or 800-859-2960. Owned and operated by FirstLight Power Resources. www.firstlightpower.com/

∎ Join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center staff naturalist Kim Noyes on Sunday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for a spring hike with spectacular views on a 6½-mile hike along the New England Scenic Trail. There will be views of the Millers River Valley, three state views at Northfield’s mountain-top overlook, the scenic Rose Ledges and a forest bursting with signs of spring, all on a predominantly downhill hike. The route will begin on Mountain Road in Erving, hiking the trail formerly known as the Metacomet Monadnock Trail. It will connect with Northfield Mountain’s trails and descend to the Visitors Center. Hikers should bring lunch, water, wear sturdy footwear, dress for the weather and be comfortable hiking over somewhat hilly terrain with total climbs of approximately 700 feet. People will meet at the Visitor Center and carpool to the trailhead. Heavy rain cancels. The hike is free and is appropriate for ages 12 and older. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 800-859-2960.

∎ On Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., come to High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne and enjoy spring wildflowers. Join Nancy Goodman, native orchid enthusiast and naturalist, who has been looking for and photographing wild orchids for the last 20 years. Noted for its views of the Deerfield River valley and Mount Greylock, this sanctuary is home to an extraordinary variety of native flora and fauna. High Ledges is also home to many beautiful orchids, though each year it is unpredictable as to which will be blooming. Participans will be looking for the yellow and pink lady’s slippers, showy orchid, early coral root and purple fringed orchid. There will also likely be wildflowers such as Solomon’s seal, pitcher plants, Indian cucumber, painted trillium and columbine. Wear boots or hiking shoes and bring a lunch and water. Program co-sponsored by Northfield Mountain and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. This event is for ages 14 and older. The fee is $10. (Note, earlier this event was listed as free in error.) Please call 800-859-2960 to register.

∎ Mindful Full Moon Walk in Northfield’s Woodlands: join Kripalu certified yoga instructor Jenny Tufts and Northfield Mountain Naturalist Beth Bazler on Thursday, June 12, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., for yoga on the trail. Both yoga and hiking offer benefits to body, mind and spirit and participants will learn poses based on the natural world while enriching the hiking experience with strength building and flexibility exercises for feet, legs and core. Mindful walking, simple meditation techniques and sound yoga, say organizers, will heighten your awareness of the springtime forest. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and flexible footwear. This free program is a part of the Dickinson Memorial Library “Northfield’s Woodlands” program series funded by the Tortuga Foundation. Register by calling Northfield’s Dickinson Library at 413-498-2455.

∎ Canal Days Along the Bike Path: take a springtime stroll along a 1½-mile section of the paved bike path in Turners Falls on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to noon with local historian Ed Gregory, industrial history buff, Steve Winters and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Kim Noyes. Using historical maps, quotes and illustrations, participants will explore the scenic west end of the popular Canalside Trail. Organizers say participants will gain a new appreciation for this quiet end of the bike path as they imagine canal barges waiting their turn for the locks, a lively 19th century tavern, the birth of the iron whistle coming to town and much more. This program is co-sponsored with the Pioneer Valley Institute. Meet at the parking lot on the east side of Montague City Road across from the Farren Care Center in Turners Falls. Call 413-659-4462 after 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning if weather is questionable. Rain date: Saturday, June 21. The event is free, donations to institute are welcome. For ages 16 and older. Call 800-859-2960 to register.

∎ Saturday, June 14, from noon to 2 p.m., Free Fish Printing for Families at the Turners Falls Fishway, located on First Street in Turners Falls. Print your own T-shirt or tote bag and discover the intricate beauty and important function of fish fins and scales. Learn about resident fish as well as migratory fish that return to the Connecticut River to lay their eggs. Drop in anytime between noon and 2 p.m. at the Turners Falls Fishway to create your work of art using scientifically accurate replicas of Connecticut River fish. Remember to bring a T-shirt or other material to use for fish printing and wear clothes that can get stained. This event is part of the ninth annual Family Fish Day at the Great Falls Discovery Center. If raining, this event will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Appropriate for ages 5 and older. No registration is required.

∎ Saturday, June 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Summer Solstice Sunset Kayak at Barton Cove in Gill. At the summer solstice, poet Mary Oliver asks, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Perhaps we can begin by celebrating the birth of summer on a paddle through the sunset? Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer, known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice. During this evening paddle, participants will explore some of the celebrations from around the world as well as the rich history and natural history of Barton Cove. Ancient waterfalls, historic log drives, dinosaur footprints and nesting bald eagles are unique to this peninsula, cove and “narrows” on the Connecticut River. This program is appropriate for both beginning and experienced paddlers. For ages 16 and older. Free with own kayak, $25/boat with kayak rental. Tandem kayaks available. Pleaseregister by calling 800-859-2960.

∎ Saturday, June 28, at Barton Cove in Gill, Family Eagle Expedition from 9 to 11 a.m. Using a tandem kayak is a great way for an adult and child to give paddling a try, say organizers, who add that visiting the Barton Cove Eagle nest is a good mini expedition for new paddlers. Kids can paddle as they are able and parents can provide the power and direction for the boat as participants try to glimpse eaglets on the nest, exercising before their first flight. The group will begin learning paddling basics on land, how to turn and go straight and then set off across the Cove. Bring along a snack and drink for when the group takes a break from paddling before returning to its starting point. No prior kayaking experience is required. Suggested gear list will be emailed to registered participants prior to program. For ages 7 and older. Fee: $20 per adult child pair. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 800-859-2960.

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