Big turnout for cross-Island walk
A brisk wind blew Saturday morning when more than 60 walkers gathered at Bend in the Road Beach to take part in the 12th annual Land Bank cross-Island walk. Many of the walkers came prepared for the cold, in long pants and jackets. Others chose shorts and layered tops, t-shirts under sweatshirts or jackets. They knew that even if the air temperature did not rise, internal temperatures, thanks to the brisk pace, would soon make outer garments unnecessary.
James Lengyel, executive director of the Land Bank, called everyone together on the beach to distribute rough maps of the day's route. Mr. Lengyel led the hikers this year because Bill Veno, a part-time land bank employee who designed this year's route, had taken ill that morning and would not be able to take his usual spot in the lead.
The group walked south for a brief stretch on Beach Road before skirting the southern edge of Sengekontacket Pond, walking through Caroline Tuthill Sanctuary, then on to Felix Neck, crossing some of the newly acquired land that once belonged to Lucia Moffett. The first break was pondside at Felix Neck where the walkers made quick work of the water, nuts, and fruit provided by the Land Bank. On to Featherstone Farm where the group stopped for lunch. The ultimate destination was Hillmans Point Preserve on the western side of Lake Tashmoo, a 16-mile hike in total.
This year's hike was slightly shorter than those in past years. Usually the walk is more rigorous, starting at 8 am and extending until nearly 4 pm. And this was the first year that so many enthusiasts turned out. Usually the number of walkers is closer to 35, many only doing part of the day. James Lengyel has been on every walk; In seniority, hiker Dorothy Packer followed Mr. Lengyel. She had participated in 11 hikes. Almost half the hikers were newcomers this year. The event is in celebration of National Trails Day