Fishing Area 1, Quabbin, Pelham, MA

I headed North on 202 and clocked 4.5 miles from Townmart in Belchertown to the Fishing Area Sign.
After turning onto a gravel road, I drove (erratically) two or three more miles. I wasn't sure what I was looking for - all of the pull-offs had large NO PARKING signs. When I finally pulled into the parking area, I was stunned by a wide open, glittering vista. Tidy boats line the shore, and the distinctive dip of the Winsor Dam is barely visible across the water. A tower peeps over the left hand hill.
I paid a $4 parking fee and was directed to the trail head, behind the porta potty, on the far left when facing the reservoir.
We hiked several miles on a beautiful trail along the edge of the Quabbin, peeking out at half a dozen lookout spots. At each of these points, the pinky-orange granite of the mountains could be seen extending from ground cover to bare rock, to lake floor. The lookout nearest to the parking area became our snack and play spot. I nursed the baby while the boys jumped around like mountain goats on the jagged rocks. The water deepened very gradually, so I wasn't worried about their safety.
The kids found two varieties of caterpillar and more than a few insects along the way. They had the opportunity to play on a small beach where my oldest was fascinated by the waves "rolling in." When we returned to our starting point by the boat launch, they spent some time heaving rocks into the water while I stalked an amazing butterfly, who seemed to be begging me to photograph him. My son had identified one of the caterpillars as a swallowtail, and he said that this was a swallowtail as well. We looked it up later to confirm his information (he seemed a little miffed, but he is only 4); he was correct. It's an Anise Swallowtail butterfly.
We loved this walk so much that we're going back later this week with my husband. And going back in a week or two to rent a boat for $5! $5!!

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