The first thing I noticed was the welcoming committee of robins, more than a dozen of them flitting around Kelly Memorial Park on a 40-degree February morning. According to Mass Audubon, common songbirds overwinter here or have descended earlier in the season from more northerly points in New England or Canada. They thank you for your garden feeders. The next hello came from a friendly, photogenic pup, emerging from the woods path. Behind him, a walker on crutches, despite the freezing conditions. Encouraged, I strapped on my Yaktrax and began my 1.6-mile loop walk from Kelly Memorial Park, through the Boulder Brook Preserve, to the top of the rock ledges, then back down via a short jump to the border to Weston, and back to the Elmwood Road parking lot.
For this hike I followed the purple arrows. There are many side trails in the Kelly Field and Boulder Brook areas, which makes the area so popular with kids and families who want to get out and run in nature. But for today, I stayed on the most traveled path.
The path opens to a view of Kelly Field and Katharine Lee Bates Elementary School beyond the playgrounds. In warm weather, the field is full of teams taking advantage of the four baseball diamonds and multiple football zones. I kept to the left and walked along the paved part of the path that continues behind the baseball net and along Boulder Brook.
As I entered the woods, I kept an eye out for Elephant Rock on the left, another great climbing rock for the kids. From there I headed to Rocky Ledges, a popular place to see the sunset in Wellesley.
Once over the bridge, I took the trail to the right and found the base of the rock ledges. This was probably the hardest part of the hike to find the trail. It was also maybe a little misguided of me to continue given the freezing conditions, but I’m stubborn that way.
On the way down I walked past Weston as you can tell by the trail marker which has a green pine on a white background. It was a steep section, made more difficult by the ice. Very few people have been down here lately.
Once I got to the bottom of the ledges, I took the purple trail one more time, kept to the right and retraced my steps over the Eagle Scout Bridge.
I stayed to the left of the bench and went back to the meadow.
As I retraced my steps on the prairie, the robins again showed up and kept me company until I crossed the Boulder Brook bridge back into the Kelly Field area. The hike took about an hour. I will be back in the spring when the robins are joined by many other species of birds and other wildlife.
Wellesley Trails Committee shares 6 guided hikes on the trails
Beyond Wellesley: A 3km hike around Weston Reservoir
You can see Mount Monadnock on a beautiful winter day from Pegan Hill