Patriot’s Place on Patriot’s Day

I’ve been meaning to check out a nature trail I heard about but just haven’t had the time. It’s at Patriot’s Place in Foxboro, home of Gillette Stadium and the New England Patriot’s Football team. The complex houses a shopping mall and conference centers as well. This is where the AAA marketplace was held last month. Bottom line, it’s hard to believe there’s a nature trail amid the asphalt.

As I left Lexington I noticed my gas gauge was getting kind of low. I expected I would need to get gas after making that trip to Lexington. I stopped at a service center with a  McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich. While there I checked their gas prices…$3.95 + / gal for regular. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The  egg McMuffin and orange juice w/ a small water came to $7.99! Friendly’s has a whole breakfast for $2.99. I thought McDonald’s was supposed to be cheap!

Anyway, I decided to try to get to a gas station I know on RT 1. It usually has less expensive gas and I could go home by way of RT 1 instead of RT 128. In fact when I got there the gas was $3.73/ gal.  Big difference!

So with a bit more gas in my tank I headed off down RT 1. On the way I drove by Patriot’s Place and for the first time saw a sign for the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog. It was still so early I decided to take the time to check it out. It’s located behind Bass Pro Shop and be warned, the dirt road to the dirt parking area has pot holes big enough to swallow your car.

For the most part the parking lot was empty. There were some construction vehicles and a port-o-potty on the far end of the lot. I didn’t take all the camera stuff, just my monopod that doubles as a walking stick, the new super telly and my 55-200. I left the backpack and the kit lens in the car locked in the trunk.

 The path is well-marked. The upper portion is brick-paved and there is a little sitting area and a man-made water feature (waterfall). It’s a pretty little spot. The trail itself is dirt but well maintained. Much better than the access road! It’s a short loop, only about 1/2 mile. To the left is a gentle downslope to a bridge/boardwalk over the marsh to the bog. To the right the trail is more steep. Going right would be the easy way so of course I went left first!

I loved the boardwalk over the pond. It even has a little bench where you can sit and watch the birds. There were the Canadian Geese , of course, a pair of swans, quite a few red-winged blackbirds and a variety of finch/sparrow type birds. I didn’t see any ducks this trip but I am sure there must be some around.

I followed the path through the Cranberry bog. There are two statues of Elk set on the shore and another bridge that crosses the irrigation canal on one side and the pond on the other.

 At that point  you enter the woods and the terrain changes again. It’s still an easy walk but now you climb a couple of hills.

There’s another little bridge over a brook that feeds the pond. In here I spotted squirrels playing hide and seek but that was about all.

Back at the start I took advantage of the seating area to set up my new lens. I need to get used to using such a heavy lens and the monopod. I found the swans on the pond and was amazed at how big they came out with the super telly. The only thing is it’s a bit cumbersome. I think it will be great if I’m looking to shoot from a blind or someplace where I will be sitting or standing for a bit, in other words, where I can set up housekeeping. 🙂 It’s not a lens to just snap on the camera and go hiking. I’ll stick to my 55-200 for that. It will definitely travel with me when we go to Alaska.

The day seemed to be warming up a bit but that wind was still cold so I wrapped up my morning and it’s only 9 am!

 Just as I took the lens off and packed up the geese started honking like crazy and the whole gaggle took off in formation! A very impressive sight  and me with no camera ready! Why is it that this always seems to happen to me! Oh well, another picture that got away 🙂

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