Bacon Trail

Map:  Bacon Trail Map (NRPC map detail)
Length: 1 mile, Post 9 at Ledge Trail to Post 10
Identification: Yellow blazes
Difficulty: Walking: Moderate
                  XC skiing: Not recommended
                  Mountain biking:  Not allowed.

Charles “Chuck” Bacon and his wife Eleanor “Tin” moved to their home at the end of Brook Road in 1947. At that time there were only a few planks for a bridge over Joe English Brook. The pond came later to hold water for fire protection. Chuck, a charter member of the ACC, helped with trail development and chronicled the area in his articles “Notes from Straddlepole.” The Bacons’ home has become the Peabody Mill Environmental Center.

Log:  The Bacon Trail begins at Post 9 on the Ledge Trail beside the beaver pond on Joe English Brook .4 mile from the PMEC kiosk. Pass through the stone wall and continue close to the edge of the pond. The bench provides a resting spot from which to watch for pond life.  Can you spot the beaver lodge? Note the old stone fences along this trail that say this was cleared for pasture land over 100 years ago.  
At 300 feet, Post 21, The Oak Trail (Blue) exits right. In 500 feet the trail turns right leaving the pond. The hemlock woods are replaced here by oak and other hardwoods as the trail rises onto drier ground.  The stone wall on the left is roughly the boundary between Joe English Reservation and NBAS. Do not confuse the blue-blazed military boundary with trail blazes. The NBAS is off limits!  Several depressions and mounds dot the slope marking spots where large trees were once uprooted lifting soil and rocks into the air until released as roots and the stump decayed. These mounds could date back to the 1938 hurricane. Can you tell from the orientation of the mounds which direction the wind blew from? (Approximately at 90 degrees to the long dimension of the mounds.)
At .6 miles the trail drops sharply with the woods of Chestnut Hill visible ahead. Old barways* in the wall suggest these fields were once part of a farm swallowed up when the World War II bombing range (now New Boston Air Station) was created.
At .7 miles turn right on ledges above Clean Brook as it flows from wetlands in the Amherst portion of NBAS. Pass Post 22 at .8 mile where the Oak Trail (Blue) enters right. Descend to cross the brook on a bridge and follow it downstream. Here the trail is uneven and rocky as it drops through a scenic area beneath high banks. This area probably was shaped by glacial meltwater**.
At 1 mile rejoin the Ledge Trail at Post 10. Turn right to return to Old Brook Road in .3 mile or left to reach the Highland Trail in .2 mile.  
 
*When stone walls were built, infrequently used openings would be closed with young tree trunks or split rails to save the cost and trouble of making gates. So instead of a gateway, we have a barway.

**When the ice sheet began to melt and recede 10,000 years ago tremendous volumes of water were released. These flows, greater than anything we see today, carried millions of tons of rocks and gravel with them, eroding and shaping as they flowed south. Many valleys were carved by these meltwaters and low hills and valley floors filled with the gravel as it settled from the
streams.