My outing for today was to re-visit Balch Hill, a bald round-topped hill in the middle of Hanover. I’d been there only once before, when the kids and I followed the mysterious Valley Quest instructions to find a hidden quest box near the summit. Today, a blustery and gray November day, I was the only person on the hill, it seemed. The lone maple tree that proudly guards the hill-top meadow seemed silent in its leafless state, awaiting a proper blanket of snow. Although I ascended by the Maple Trail (1.0 mile from car to summit) I found a map and decided to loop down via the Hemlock Trail and some residential streets. The summit kiosk mentioned a huge old oak tree to be seen along that path, and how they’d left in place the massive branch that “lost its battle with gravity”.
Indeed, the trail now passes under the natural arch formed by this decaying branch, adding a little novelty to today’s walk in the woods.