Pinnacle Association to lead Athens Dome Hike on Oct. 18

GRAFTON — The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association's woodland hike along Athens Dome trails in Grafton on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., has a few special elements to interest just about everyone - huge boulders and caves, a summit view, a shelter cabin in the making, and various animal habitats.

Somewhat steep at the start and in a few other places, the short 1.5-mile hike will go to Creature Rock - a collection of house-sized boulders with small caves - then on to the summit with a view off to the east overlooking Cambridgeport and Atcherson Hollow, up to the shelter site, and shortly thereafter down Shortcut Road, past the edge of an old beaver wetland, and back on Ledge Road alongside tumbling Ledge Brook to the parking area.

At the shelter site, hikers can check out the progress on the structure, whose initial phase was the Eagle Scout project of Earl Grennan of Grafton. He designed the shelter and organized the workers and fellow Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 206 in Chester.

Scouts cut trees, hauled and debarked logs, chopped notches, and lifted the heavy logs into place to form the basic frame and walls of the shelter that will become a most welcoming place to camp for the night or to have a picnic.

The construction challenges of old-style framing from raw materials were further complicated by weather and access constraints. But, if schedules permit, Grennan will be on hand to describe the many days of work involved.

The final stages of the shelter are being completed by volunteers from the Pinnacle Association. The hope is to have the shelter finished by spring of 2015. At that time, hikers interested in overnight camping there will be able to contact the Pinnacle Association to make a reservation. The necessary information will be on the Pinnacle website.

Participants should dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Hikers should meet at the trailhead parking area on Ledge Road, off Route 35 in Grafton.

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