Category Archives: Activities

2017 Fall Hike

The Middleton Stream Team’s Fall Hike included a few showers but the winds held off and everybody had a fun learning adventure.


The children were provided a list of things to look for, a moss covered rock as big as an elephant and a witch’s broom high in a tree being two of them. The most fun was finding things that didn’t belong. They found a pumpkin deep in the forest, an ear of corn on the side of a tree, a pink flamingo on the banks of the pond, and a flying monkey from the Wizard of Oz sitting up in a tree. The challenge that required some thinking was “what did you find that belongs here but not usually at this time of year?” The children found newly emerging skunk cabbage. Pike happened to have a thermometer so Sandy and Ashlyn stuck it down into a skunk cabbage and compared it to the surrounding mud and water temperatures. Indeed, it was several degrees higher than either! William Caulfield found dandelions in bloom in a field also!  The rain let up, we continued our hike, and all deemed it a success. Time spent in nature is always restorative! And just plain fun for children!   


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  • 2017-Fall-Hike-Inspecting-an-erratic
  • 2017-Fall-Hike-a-large-bowl-shape-in-the-forest
  • 2017-Fall-Hike-Looking-at-Witchs-Broom
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  • 2017-Fall-Hike-hiking-along
  • 2017-Fall-Hike-Ink-cap-mushroom
  • 2017-Fall-Hike-Thinking-of-an-answer

Middleton Pond Cleanup


Letterboxing is an active way to have fun outside for all ages. Enjoy the beauty of nature while taking on an awesome treasure hunt! Two Cadette Girl Scouts have hidden 17 letterboxes on 4 of Middleton’s scenic nature trails.

How many can YOU find?  Come take a hike, enjoy the scenery, and have some fun following our clues while exploring Middleton’s wonderful trails!  Each hike is different, ranging from less than half a mile to 3.5 miles.  We challenge you to find all 17 of our letterboxes! 

To letterbox, follow the clues and look for our purple and clear plastic containers, which are called letterboxes. In each  letterbox, you will find a stamp, an ink pad, a pen, and notebook. Bring your own stamp and notebook. Letterboxes can be found by following the clues provided on the links below.  They are hidden in spaces like under rocks or logs or in trees. They can be hidden with rocks, sticks, bark,etc.  You will need to search for them and uncover them.  When you  find a letterbox, stamp your stamp into the letterbox’s notebook and write your name and the date. Stamp the stamp provided in the letterbox into your personal notebook. Collect all the stamps you can from other letterboxes in your own personal letterboxing notebook!  Always remember to re-hide the letterboxes exactly as you found them so they are ready for the next person to find. Safety tips:  Hike with a buddy, bring water and a snack, use insect repellent, and always check for ticks!  Good luck and have fun!

Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt in nature.
Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt in nature.
  Links for clues and location/directions:
Reservoir Trail Series (6)  Box #267793
Reservoir Trail Series (3 miles) (6 boxes):  This hike is the most scenic.  It is along the Middleton Reservoir and has much wildlife.  There is an area with many herons and nests.  Also, if you bring a strainer on this hike, you can catch waterlife in vernal pools!  The six stamps in the letterboxes on this hike are all letters, and spell out a secret word at the end of the hike. 
Cudhea Crick Loop Series (3) Box #267796
Cudhea Crick Loop (1.6 miles) (3 boxes):  This wooded trail is beautiful as it goes over Boston Brook and starts near Prichards Pond.  It is a bit of a rougher hike than the other and can be seasonably wet, but is very rewarding.  It is near Boy Scout Bridge Trail.  
Boyscout Bridge Trail Series (3) Box #267797
Boy Scout Bridge Trail (.4 miles) (3 boxes):  This is a short hike that goes over Boston Brooke full of adventure.  This hike is perfect for younger children as it is only .4 miles and has clues and excitement every step of the way.  It is near Cudhea Crick Loop. 
Bald Hill Pirate Series (3.5 mi roundtrip) (5) Box #267864
Bald Head Pirate Series (3.5 miles) (5 boxes):  In this series of letterboxes, the clues are written with a pirate theme and you are sent on a mission.  There are ancient graveyards, an old rusty car, remnants of a burned down house, and the peak of Bald Hill on this hike.  The stamps are hand carved with a pirate theme.
All clues can also be found on by doing a letterbox search either by location (Middleton) or by specific box number or names. You can also download the mobile app BoxFinder.


Middleton Stream Team Winter Hike January 31, 2016

A group of 25 hikers, led by Pike Messenger, explored the hilly and forested terrain West of North Liberty Street. The group viewed historic stone foundations remaining from early settlers in the region as well as large peat bogs, and many stone walls marking old boundaries. The last portion of the hike took the group along Boston Brook. Here we saw a large beaver dam, and the remains of an old mill.
Although the warm weather negated the plan to have an “ice hike” the group was still able to easily get to places that are not usually as accessible in the winter months.


Invitation to the 2016


Sunday, January 31, 1pm

 All are invited to join Middleton Stream Team’s cool Annual Winter Hike in the wintery wilds of northern Middleton.  We will visit the impoundments which are home to the beavers, birds and wildlife and walk on ice where safe; places “you can’t get to from here” nearly all year.

Meet at 12:50 PM, Sunday, January 31st, on the unpaved section of North Liberty Street, about a mile north of Prichard’s Pond; or about 2 miles north (total) from Maple Street (Route 62).  From Maple Street, take Liberty Street (which becomes North Liberty Street). From Sharpener’s Pond Road go south and look for a group of parked cars.  The hike will end at the starting point before 4 PM.

Wear warm clothing, warm non-slip foot gear, and bring a hiking stick if you have one. Anticipate some rough spots and ice.

       Please check our web site the morning of the hike in case of possible changes due to snow or ice conditions. Email or call (978) 777-4584 if you have any questions.

PS – This is a good opportunity to take photos for the 2016 MST Photo Contest, so bring your camera.


  • President Sandy greets group
  • Charting the course
  • Middleton Stream Team displays their banner
  • Ready to start...
  • Beaver dam
  • Wood frog tadpoles
  • Yellow spotted salamander egg mass
  • 9 of 30 plus participants netting vernal pool specimens.
  • Netted specimens for inspection
  • Examining fallen paper wasps' nest
  • Pike's always teaching about nature...
  • Underside of hemlock twig has wooly adelgid insects (not seen within protective white masses they exude), which suck juices from leaves

2015 Winter Family Outing – CANCELLED!



Sunday, February 8  1:00PM

Since 1996 when beavers returned here, their dams have drastically changed our terrain. Thousands of acres of former red maple swamps in the Ipswich River watershed and beyond are now flooded year round.  Humans, thanks to beavers, can, when the ice is safe, explore their flooded “beaver meadows,” many like large shallow lakes. Please join the Middleton Stream Team on its annual Winter Family Outing, Saturday, January 31st for a hike around the perimeter of a large beaver impoundment in a little know part of town. These now open areas where trees have been drowned by beaver dams are interesting wildlife habitats.

Please meet us at 1:00 PM where Boston Brook crosses under North Liberty Street and becomes Prichard’s Pond about two miles north of Maple Street (Route 62). Liberty Street becomes North Liberty Street at School Street. Continue straight north past School Street until you see the Stream Team banner.   We will be back at starting point before 4PM.

Prepare for cold weather with warm clothing, proper footwear, hats, gloves, etc. Bring Yaktrax or similar grippers and hiking poles, if you have them. Check for updates, changes, cancellations. Email or call 978-777-4584 with questions.

2014 Fall Family Hike

Days are shorter and more precious in autumn, but this is when Mother Nature delights our senses as it unveils its truly vivid colors.  That is also why the Middleton Stream Team holds its annual Fall Foilage Family Hike where this past Sunday, a group of approximately 30 met at Mundy Bridge to see what wonders of nature had in store for them.

The fall hike was previously delayed a week due to inclement weather, but last Sunday turned out to be a beautiful hike day. After Naturalist Pike Messenger, explained the leaf life cycle, the group started up the trail beside Boston Brook, crossing the brook on a bridge built by local boy scouts. The group age ranged in age from 8 months to eighty plus, and all seemed to enjoy exploring the glacier carved hills and valleys in these woods. Elaine Gauthier took the lead and pointed out landscape effects of the glaciers. Pike provided information about moss, witch hazel and bogs. The group paused at a beaver dam which was prepared for winter, and to look at a true bog.

All seemed to enjoy the experience and the exercise of hiking in the fallen leaves in the open forest, along forgotten stone walls that served to mark land boundaries. It has long been stated that hiking has many beneficial health benefits including; reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Keep visiting this website for information about future hikes.