Date Planted: September 16, 2007
Address: Barrett Pond Area 2, Myles Standish State Forest, Lower College Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 (actual location address) or 98 Cranberry Road, Carver, MA 02330 (park entrance address)
Hike length: .5 mi
First aid: Please make sure the box isn't waterlogged! :)
Clue last updated: November 25, 2007
Find Myles Standish State Forest in Carver/Plymouth, Massachusetts and enter the park by way of Cranberry Road. Follow the road until it dead ends at park headquarters and park in the lot there (it'll be on your left). You might want to pick up a trail map here, but it's not required. There are many gorgeous hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails in this forest that are worth checking out! :)
From the parking lot, take a right and bear right at the fork. As you follow the road up hill, notice the beautiful forest. Though it may appear that Smokey Bear is in charge of this forest, that is NOT the case. The true rulers of Myles Standish State Forest are its multitude of SPIDERS!
From "A field guide to spiders in the house" by Vicki Croke, originally published in The Boston Globe, May 29, 1999:
Herbert W. Levi, now retired from Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, says, "There are about 500 kinds of spiders in the area, many without common names." There is still much to be learned in the world of spiders. Their numbers, range, and behavior in many cases are still mysterious. About 37,000 species of spiders have been named, but that's probably only a fourth of those out there."
Continue following the road (be sure to stay on the side, though this road is not very busy, it's also not very wide either!) as it meanders through the forest. After going around a sharp turn, you'll soon see Barrett Pond Area 2 on the left. I chose this spot because every fall my friends and I attend King Richard's Faire (a renaissance faire nearby in Carver), and this is where we stay. It is a beautiful campground! Go through the gate and follow the road up hill to the right.
When you get to the top of the hill, you'll see a set of bathrooms. Though you may want to take a pit stop here, keep going. There is another set of bathrooms a bit further down the road on the right. Feel free to "rest" in these restrooms. Chances are if you're finding this box, you're probably not afraid of spiders, and I think you'll find that's a good thing once you enter any of the stalls. You're sure to see quite a few daddy longlegs spiders! From the Boston Globe article:
"These slender-legged spiders look otherworldly and spin messy webs in and around our basements. Cellar spiders are quite 'cosmopolitan,' according to Levi's wonderful little volume, Spiders and Their Kin, (Golden Books). I don't think he means that they summer on the Vineyard, collect Limoges, or drink Pouilly-Fuisse with every meal. But they do live all over the place, and often turn up in the city."
The daddy long legs rule this—and probably every other—bathroom in Myles Standish. Woe to any other species of spider who dares enter here! The daddy long legs are a tight-knit bunch, and what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. In fact, I may be killed for carving this stamp!
After you've finished "resting" in the restroom, you may witness a daddy long-legs instructing others to "take him out back, boys!" Walk around to the back of the building. Look for a cement slab on the grass. Do you think the spiders use bits of this as "shoes" for tresspassers??? Stand on the cement slab. Just a few feet away, you'll see another cement slab. Now go stand on that one and look to your right for a small field for playing horse shoes.
Walk to the horseshoe-playing field. On your left there is a trail. Outside in the woods here you're very likely to encounter a jumping spider! From the Globe article:
"With their terrific vision and charisma, jumping spiders seem to invite interaction with people. 'You can box with them,' Mertz says. They will draw back and leap forward to spar with your pinkie if you're in the mood. O'Brien says you can wave a finger in front of one and 'if you're lucky,' the spider will hop on. Jumping spiders, as well as others, O'Brien says, often will throw a line of silk out, like 'a bungee cord,' as they leap."
Jumping spiders are friendly little buggers, but unfortunately the daddy long leg mob is not very keen on them. And since the jumping spiders often jump into the bathroom, they often meet an untimely, watery death. Walk 37 steps down the trail and you will see a small offshoot path to the right with a felled tree crossing it. At the base of this tree, you'll find out what happened to one victim of The Spider Mafia!
If you want to continue a nice scenic walk, you can either follow this trail (maps are available at the park headquarters), or return to the road through the campground. It will loop back around to the entrance of Barrett Pond Area 2. Take a right and you'll end up back at park headquarters.
I hope you enjoy The Spider Mafia! :)
Please contact me on AtlasQuest after you find it and tell me what you think! Happy letterboxing! :)
NOTE: Before you set out you must read and agree to the Waiver of Responsibility.