After several years of hiking the Fells with my son, there was only one major blazed trail that we had never followed end-to-end. I decided not to let another year end without hiking the Cross-Fells trail at least once in it’s entirety. But there was one little issue. We often walk to the Fells from our home or drive to an entrance. In either case we always hike a round-trip loop. But the Cross-Fells trail is a linear walk across much of Medford and some of Melrose and Malden to boot! How could we make it a round-trip?
Meanwhile, I had been thinking recently that it would be great to publish a series of guides to “the Fells by T” – complete guided hikes to and from locations easily reached by public transit. Eventually this line of thought intersected my Cross-Fells problem and my plan for yesterday’s hike was born. With my son (now 12) in tow, I set out from Oak Grove station to West Medford by T, with the intent to walk to and through the Cross-Fells Trail back to my point of origin, capturing directions and travel times for future reference. It was a lovely day for a hike (perhaps a little damp and chilly but not bad for late Autumn) and the plan went off without a hitch.
After riding the T to Davis Square and catching the #94 bus to West Medford, we strapped on our packs and set off for the Fells. The walk up to Gate #1 was uneventful and we were on our way. We enjoyed imagining the long-gone observatory tower at the top of Rams Head Hill, as my son stood atop the concrete steps that remain at that site (image below). We paused to view the Boston skyline (what we could see on this grey day) from the top of Wenepoykin Hill. We admired the reflections on Quarter Mile Pond (image above) before crossing Woodland Rd. And, though we cut it close, we got home before dark (an ever-increasing challenge at this time of year)
Based on that experience I assembled this guide:
I hope this guide will allow our friends (and the Fells’ Friends) in Somerville or elsewhere in the city to begin discovering the Fells and to create their own memories of the Cross-Fells Trail.