For an idyllic fall day in New England, the trails in Pawtuckaway are the perfect thing for anyone wishing to escape the pumpkin spice lattes and UGGs everywhere for a few hours - but maybe not the entire day. On October 22nd, this is exactly what a large group of bright, motivated Ridj-iteers were looking for!
The meet-up and organization of cars at Wellington station took a little longer than expected, but it made no difference at all. After the hour-and-a-bit drive, the group set out on the chosen trail, with everyone giving Rik a whole lot of flak for not knowing where the trail was at first. The trail, once located, started out flat, but then turned into an absolute wall of rocks. A. Wall. Of. Rocks. Somehow, this wall wasn’t actually all that difficult to climb, and was absolutely worth the effort: at the top was a perfect view of the landscape, complete with sunshine, a refreshing breeze, and a rolling ocean of forest in its full fall foliage glory.
It took around 45 minutes for the group to reach the top at a relatively leisurely pace. At this point, the group was temporarily joined by a new member: Harley the golden lab, whose owners were nowhere in sight, and had a tag reading “I’m not lost, I live nearby and like to explore!” However, disappointed by the group’s lack of treats, Harley didn’t stick around long.
While the Pawtuckaway hike was relatively easy in terms of physical exertion, it is not a hike that can be done in sneakers as the website says, and the Ridj-it group learned the hard way. There were a few slips and falls, and one member of the group suffered a badly twisted ankle near the summit. Thankfully, a few members of the party came prepared, and were able to treat the ankle with a temporary tape job that gave the injured hiker enough stability to get down the mountain safely. If you’re wondering what to do about a sprained ankle in the middle of the woods, check out our how-to-guide for taping ankle injuries. That said, wear proper hiking boots if you’re thinking of hiking Pawtuckaway - UGGs don’t count.
Throughout the hike, the Ridj-it group had plenty of time to get to know each other. Unsurprisingly, they were a pretty diverse bunch: there was the French woman from Australia with an interesting take on the Aussie accent, the Senegalese pharma executive from DC with biceps the size of an infant, a British chemist that happily escaped the tundra of Upstate NY, and a recent college grad from Pittsburgh who wanted to know what "yinz" were up to, to list a few.
The way back down was steep and tricky at certain points, but in terms of level of fitness and experience required it was still suitable for beginners. At the base of the mountain, the group stumbled upon a bouldering site where climbers were practicing their techniques - a great sight to see and definitely an idea for a future trip! #anyonewanttotrybouldering
When the hike was done, and our friends were good and hungry, the group agreed to make a detour to Portsmouth on the way home for a well-earned lunch. Street is a hybrid between a bar and a diner, specializing in brunch items with international inspirations. The ambiance is eclectic and modern, the service was friendly and the food was amazing. 11/10 would go again.
At the end of the day (or late afternoon, really), Pawtuckaway was a successful trip for people who want to get outside, but don’t want to devote the entire day for hiking. What other short hiking trips New England would you recommend?