The “Windmill” Trail

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Episode 3 of The Hiking Diaries.


Today I hiked Harrington Trail. It is another trail that goes all the way to the top of Mount Wachusett. Another characteristic of this trail is that you can branch off to see the windmills, and you can also see them from a vista along the way. And lastly, it is quite steep in places. Quite a few places.

Here’s the trail on the map.


The red dot I added is approximately where Harrington Farm is. If you don’t know Harrington Farm, it is a restaurant and event venue (think weddings) in Princeton. It’s very pretty.

Also, I mentioned in my first entry of The Hiking Diaries that I hike many trails very often, some not so often. I don’t think I’ve ever hiked the beginning part of the Harrington Trail. But see that Echo Lake Trail over to the right? I hike that trial to High Meadow Trail quite often. That’ll be a story for another day. Oh, and even though there is a parking sign on the trail map, you really just park on the edge of the road. You have to watch for it on the right as you are driving. It is easy to miss.

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You can get to the windmill farm by going up Stage Coach Road. But I didn’t realize there was a path (and sign) to get there from off of Harrington Trail. Also, when walking along the trail, you could see flickering shadows from the windmills, which were turning. I’ve never noticed that before. I actually didn’t like it. As someone that gets car sick, it gave me that same feeling. But we soon got beyond where that was happening.

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Harrington Trail has red markings. And yellow ones for when it coincides with the Midstate Trail. (The Midstate Trail goes over the top of the mountain via Balance Rock, Old Indian, Semuhenna, West Side, Old Indian (again), Mountain House, Link, and Harrington. It also goes on Dickens Trail, which goes from where we started on Harrington Trail in the other direction to Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary.)

There are a lot of trail crossings/intersections and signs along the way. Here are some of them:

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Oh, I forgot to tell you, I hiked with my friend Dot (and the dogs). She is my regular hiking buddy.

Of all the signs, this one was my favorite:

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When you look over toward where that sign points, you see this:

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Doesn’t look like you are going to see much, until you get closer.

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And this is the full view:


See those windmills? Remember that we passed the sign to hike up to them? Didn’t seem like we hiked long enough for them to be that far away. (And they actually looked bigger in real life. But they still looked far away.) Maybe it’s just because I enjoy hiking and time flies when you are having fun!

I did remember that Harrington Trail had a steep part. What I didn’t remember was that there were quite a few steep parts. Lots of climbing.

This is the photo I took on the way back down to try to show that, but you really can’t capture the steepness of any of these trails with the camera.

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And this spot has stone steps. Most of the steep places weren’t “arranged.” You needed to find the best way to go through the rocks.

This was my second favorite sign. Because it made me laugh. I can’t even imagine someone trying to bike these trails. Although, come to think of it, the one mountain biking excursion I did a couple of years ago in Arizona had a steep part. Maybe hard core mountain bikers wish they could bike this trail.

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When you hike the mountain, you actually see bikers a lot. But they bike on the road. It’s a great workout for them.

So, that’s the scoop on Harrington Trail. So far I’ve picked trails that go to the top of the mountain. I didn’t take pictures at the top this time, but the birders were still there (see my previous post).

And I still just brought my iPhone for pictures. But I bought a new backpack today! A hiking one. So I’m going to try bringing my nice camera next time.


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