I thought I would go on about the many layered levels of political goings on in Newburyport (that most of us are totally unaware of), but hey, it’s Memorial Day Weekend. Time to take a breather, remember our war heroes at our local cemeteries and to enjoy the beautiful weather that has finally arrived.
I heartily recommend an enjoyable jaunt down a path that will make you forget you are in a city and your disbelieving eyes will be followed by your thoughts, “Am I in Newburyport?”
This trail runs along the City’s water supply on land that is controlled and owned by the Water Department. Often used by fishermen for easy access, it snakes along the shoreline. For the sake of safe and secure parking, I would advise pulling off just short of the small bridge on Plummer Spring Road that is often enthusiastically peopled by fishermen. From a point northwest of the road is the beginning of the trail as it snakes along the hillside under beautiful stands of pine.
After a short while, you will end up at the first spillway. Barely a couple of hundred yards away from the roadway, you just start to begin feeling you’ve left civilization behind. The time I was there, I was walking by a couple of fishermen and one of them gasped and I looked up just in time to see an eagle swoop down, grab a fish in its talon and fly away. I can’t guarantee that will happen every time you visit but it gives an inkling of the wildness of the area.
Continuing from the spillway, you will be given two options: One trail along the water and one higher up. Fishermen use the lower one and often you will find yourself with no trail or a confusing mass of paths where they had huddled in their favorite spots. In addition, insects can be a torment along the shoreline and higher up gives you a view and a more pleasant passage.
It is here as you round a bend in the hill, that you will be amazed at the sight as a whole new arm of the Artichoke is revealed. Often, a flock of waterfowl from Canada geese to mute swans will be seen pirouetting in the peacefulness. This feeling ends up being shared by the hiker.
The trail continues for a sum until you find it descending closer to the water. At this stage, it ends up on a long bank in which wetlands are on your right and the reservoir is on your left. This elevated stretch ends rather abruptly and descends back to the shore.
Here it gets a bit tricky as you walk along the marsh growth and heavy underbrush until you emerge right by the Water Department’s Building very close to the dam near Route 113. I encourage you to inspect the dam and take in the view. A quick walk up the driveway and you are close to the hustle and bustle of urban Newburyport and Storey Avenue.
After experiencing the breathtaking views provided by nature, you won’t be sad you’ll be retracing the trail back to your car*.
-P. Preservationist www.ppreservationist.com
* Instead of retracing your steps, you could take the trail that runs along the West Newbury side, but it is in poor condition and you may find yourself beating back the brush as you return to the Spillway and Plummer Spring Road.