Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New Book Press

It's been great to see some recent promo pieces for the new guidebook come out. 

MassUltra (Chris Wristen's amazing passion project, essentially a one-stop shop for all ultra-level trail racing news in New England): https://massultra.com/2022/04/14/pandemic-provided-perfect-opportunity-for-kimball-to-craft-new-trail-running-guidebook/ 

The Greenfield Recorder (story shared with other local media outlets including The Valley Advocate, etc.): https://www.recorder.com/Greenfield-resident-combines-passions-with-books-on-trail-running-45937648 

me, staging a running shot along Greenfield Ridge (photo by Paul Franz for The Greenfield Recorder) 

Also, stay tuned for several sweet podcast episodes, dropping soon! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The New Book Is Here!


My new guidebook, Trail Running Eastern Massachusetts, is finally in hand! It matches the previous volume very well, and I just love how it looks in general. The official release date is still technically tomorrow (3/31/22), but pre-orders should be showing up now. There are several ways to get copies if you would like one, but why not just order it from your local independent bookseller; everybody wins that way.

The book on the publisher's website: 



Monday, March 14, 2022

How To See The Super-Awesome Full Moon

Important steps you need to take to see the super-deluxe mega-awesome extra-full moon: 

  • Figure out which night of any given month the full moon will be on (tip: use a calendar)
  • Go outside ON THAT DATE (but make sure it's at night)
  • Look at moon
  • Watch out for werewolves

Note: For some super-duper overblown occasions, clickbait media will try to convince you that this is the Largest Moon You Will Ever See (since the last Super-Deluxe Extra Mega Full Moon about a month ago), and there may technically be some validity to that, but seriously, think about it for a second and realize that we're basically talking fractions of a nano-size here. The tides aren't suddenly going to sweep the sides of Mt. Everest, nor is the moon going to look like a Death Star coming up over the horizon on the planet Scarif. It's going to to look like the moon, when it's full, which always appears larger when it's right above the horizon. 


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Two Months to Go

It's a good feeling. Design, layout, proofing, and final tweaks to my new trail running guidebook are complete and it is officially off to the printers now. Release date is set for just over 2 months from now, and advance hardcopies should arrive well before that. So close now. I'm very pleased with how it came out and can't wait to share it with the local Massachusetts and regional New England running and hiking communities. 


Here is the book's Facebook page on which I plan to post a bunch of cool photos and other media in the coming months: https://www.facebook.com/TrailRunningEasternMA 
(note that this is just a "book" page, not a group or club)

Here are its pages on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble (links open in new windows).

If you're interested, please consider pre-ordering to reserve your copy today and help generate awareness and buzz around the release. You can use the links above or ask a local retailer to order and save a copy. 

Link to an earlier "teaser" post (with lots of pretty pics) from last summer: 
http://benkimballphotography.blogspot.com/2021/07/coming-soon.html 


Seventeen Songs

There’s some writing I need to finish up today, so naturally I spent some time coming up with this totally unrelated list of seventeen favorite new or new-to-me songs I heard this past year: 

YONAKA – Lose Our Heads
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOPVsA6Y2-c 

SAM FENDER – Seventeen Going Under
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAifgn2Cvo8 

HOLLY HUMBERSTONE – The Walls Are Way Too Thin (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4_lX5bGssY 

HOLLY HUMBERSTONE – Scarlett
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=982QP-10GcE 
(great growling guitar bit)

BELLY – Human Child
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m9u4rp4afQ
(nostalgia factor 11)

GREEN DAY – Dreaming (cover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32az2CLr6bo 
(Blondie song cover; he does one of “I Think We’re Alone Now” with his two sons, too) 

BILLY JOE ARMSTRONG – Manic Monday (cover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5qPCKxlw2M 
(with Susannah Hoffs bouncing around like a teenager, and we all know damn well she’s no teenager)

AC/DC – Through The Mists Of Time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7-bIFDMSFA 

HAZEL ENGLISH – Never Going Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgN_OFosKzY 
(also check out "I'm fine" and "Waiting", among others)

SUNFLOWER BEAN – Moment in the Sun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij3FfnVQsWw 

ALVVAYS – Hey 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ncJubziJ9o 
(also check out "Plimsoll Punks" and "Lollipop" from the same album)

WOLF ALICE – How Can I Make It OK? 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt_TsuBIcGY 
(love the slow build on this one)

TAYLOR SWIFT – All Too Well (10-minute version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRxrwjOtIag&t=214s 
(it’s weirdly good)

ADELE – Easy on Me 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ASj1L6_sY
(it’s just... well damn if it isn't just really easy on the ears)

MINT JULEP – Some Feel Rain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahcjPAoPwWQ 

LORD HURON – Long Lost
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2JmQ-j0jlc 

PHOEBE BRIDGERS – Steamroller
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBgpbiXMfrM 
(“you’re the feeling I get when I’m feeling fine”)


Monday, October 11, 2021

2021 Monroe Dunbar Race Photos

Every few years I hit the trail along Dunbar Brook at Monroe State Forest up in the northwest corner of Massachusetts for the annual trail race there. Sometimes I run it, sometimes I take photos, and every so often I miss it entirely. There used to be a stream crossing about a mile from the finish; I got some absolutely epic shots there over the years (see 2018 shots here, for example), but a new bridge has been installed and it's no longer quite the dramatic adventure moment it once was. This year I tried shooting at a new location, and man I gotta say some of the pics are just iconic of the race. It was a really small field this year (hopefully just due to Covid and the generally ultra-laid-back nature of the event; they essentially never advertise or promote it), but it was really cool to see a bunch of friends out there running with their young kids. 














the potholes up near the top of Dunbar Brook Trail

See all of my 2021 Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race photos here at Ben Kimball Photography

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Laurel Lake hike

Jen and I finally got around to exploring some more up at Laurel Lake (most of which is part of Erving State Forest) about half an hour east/northeast of us in Erving, MA. We'd been to some of the trails west of the lake before (The Chute, etc.), which are a mix of doubletrack snowmobile trails and wide forest roads, but never ventured up to the lake itself. It's just far enough away up Rte. 2 and known for being a busy state park-ish swim area that it's been off our mental radar of local outdoor adventure spots, but when we went it was nice and not too crowded and we really enjoyed it. 

the swampy western end of Laurel Lake

We parked in the big lot above the swimmer's beach, which seemed pretty sparsely occupied to me considering it was the end of a nice Labor Day weekend, and started hiking uphill on the very pleasant, mile-long Laurel Loop trail. After rising gently along a little stream, the trail passes through some dense stands of mountain laurel and climbs steadily to a set of semi-open summit ledges with views to the south. A little farther along there is a small clearing with a view north to Mt. Monadnock. 

ledges at the top of Laurel Loop

Monadnock view

trail through laurel

Jen on the trail

Back at the bottom, we decided to attempt a loop of the lake. We weren't really sure we'd be able to get all the way around, as there are a string of private camps along a road on the north shore that doesn't go all the way through, but sure enough there is a little path that goes through the woods above the cabin at the end of the road. On the far side, we watched some bald eagles above the causeway road, then continued west along a path called Nature Trail at the western end of the lake. This section was very pretty, undulating along the edge of the woods and passing alongside some boggy wetlands. The trail blazes split at one point, with no signage of any kind, and I'm fairly sure both options lead south to the main park road. We took the longer one that sticks close to the wetlands. At the end we just walked back along the road to the lot. Total mileage of our loop was about 3.5 miles. 

Nature Trail

boardwalk bridge west of Laurel Lake

I'd wanted to take a swim in Laurel Lake afterwards, but some strong storm clouds rolled in just as we got down to the beach and looked like they were ready to send down some lightning strikes. Sure enough, a few thunder booms sounded in the distance and kept me from venturing in. But it looked really nice and I'd definitely go back at a not-busy time to give it a go. 

Storm clouds approaching the beach at Laurel Lake


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Leyden WMA

I hesitate to post about this site since I know a lot of people regard it as a well-kept secret favorite spot, but... I mean it's basically a super-sweet little hike right in our backyard (or at least on the first ridge above us as you head north up out of town) and it's on all the trail apps and there's only so long I can not talk about it before it just feels weird. 

passing through the dramatic third clearing

The lower trailhead is near the end of a dirt road at the Greenfield/Leyden town line, right about where the terrain changes dramatically from the lower rolling open areas of the Valley to the steeper slopes of the hilltown uplands. The route described here rises up for several miles to some open hilltops and a small trailhead off of E Glen Rd up in Leyden. There's no officially marked, mapped, or named trail, and there are several forks along the way so you definitely want to have a trails app handy if you go (but beware lack of cell signal there). Jen and I hiked it as an out-and-back at the start of this Labor Day weekend. 

The first part of the route rises through open meadows, managed as wildlife clearings by MassWildlife. After climbing a steep pitch back up into the woods at the upper end of the clearing, we turned right at the first major intersection (left leads about a mile across the slope to the reservoir ponds along Glen Brook). We climbed through woods for about a mile to the next clearing. There appear to be 5 total along this route, though you really only pass through 4 of them (the fifth being this one, which you sort of skirt the edge of). 

The middle clearing is the sweetest. Hardly anyone goes there but there are wide, sweeping views to the south and you can see so much of the Pioneer Valley. Of the two branches of trail you can choose from here, I'd pick the southern one (the northern one is more direct but passes through some briars on the slopes and a wet area at the bottom). 

After rolling through more woods between clearings 3 and 4, we rose through blackberry and raspberry bushes along the edge of clearing 4 and were delighted to see tons of monarch butterflies flitting about among the goldenrod flowers. Between clearings 4 and 5 the route passes below some houses and along a wet area, and to be honest I don't like that part very much. There are blowdowns to scramble around and it's quite soggy. It smells a bit, too. 

blueberry fields at the top

Clearing 5 is the main high point of this section of ridge, known for its copious blueberries patches in season. It's only a quarter-mile walk up an old road from the upper parking area. 

hiking back down through the lower clearing in late-afternoon light

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Hallockville Pond hike

There's a pretty cool little 1-mile loop trail around Hallockville Pond in Hawley. It's on the current (undated) DCR map as "Pond Loop" but I'd never seen it before. Makes a great short hike up in them thar hills.  

Hallockville Pond

Pond Loop trail

botanists gonna botanize

cascadelet along a nearby stream

Pond Loop trailhead sign

bridge over brook at the far end

super pleasant woods

pondside flowers

occasional rocks

log bridge

another log bridge

oooooh

nice

bridge over brook

bridge over a different brook

big rocks above the pond

fern path

pondside

dam at the north end

trail towards Hawley Pass