I made it to the Walden Pond State Reservation, the same day that I visited Kerouac’s home town of Lowell, Mass. It took a good part of the morning to make it across the hilly Massachusetts countryside, but once I arrived I was surprised as to how wild the place was and popular the park was on a very hot June afternoon. Back in Thoreau’s day the area must have been quite wild and teeming with all kinds of wildlife.
In modern times the big draw seems to be the pond, which has a bathhouse, lifeguards and a roped-in swimming area. There is a replica of the tiny building that Thoreau lived in, but I did wander over to that area of the park. Instead, locked my bike to a tree and walked along a portion of the pond.
In northern New England ponds are determined by depth so this body of water is much bigger than your average farm pond. It is probably several miles long and maybe half as wide. Despite the semi wilderness location there are transit trains that run to Concord and West Concord. The walk to the state reservation from either place is less than two miles.
I stayed in the park about an hour, passed on the chance to take a cool dip and then in the midst of the June afternoon heat headed west across the Bay State towards Vermont. It was a very hot day to ride.