|Dyke's Pond (Gloucester)
Huge granite boulders, short walks, and sick lines are dotted throughout the woods at this great circuit area. Located within Mt. Anne Park, this area has so much potential along with many established problems. Note: Bring a brush for some of the boulders as many are over grown.
Take Route 128 north to exit 14. At the bottom of the ramp, stay right. About 100 feet down the road there will be a hairpin turn on the right onto New Way Lane (it comes up fast and is easy to miss). Drive slowly up the one lane road and park at the pull off and gate to the right at the end of the road. Follow the fire road to fork. Go left for 3-4 massive granite boulders, or right for a few scattered boulders in the woods on the right side of the trail. This link has the directions mapped out. The approach takes about 3 minutes, sick.
Per jim.dangle: There is currently (9/8/13) an emergency police order banning parking along New Way Lane.
130 Total Routes
['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',92],['1 Star',12],['Bomb',0]
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Main problem on a boulder near a vernal pool. Ext...
Oct 26, 2011
Anybody know what the access is like for this place now?
Every time I drive along this part of 128 in winter I can see a ton of big boulders peeking back at me from the woods.
From: The Shrew, MA
Oct 27, 2011
Hey Officer Dangle,
Things are a bit sketchy at Mt. Ann, as they have been for quite a while now.
The reason is that some douchebag bought the house right next to the green gate where we used to park at the end of New Way Lane, and he has the delusion that his property includes that parking area as well as the nicest cluster of boulders. Therefore, any time that you show up and he's home, expect a confrontation and likely the cops will be called (yes, even though it's not his land). I don't believe I've heard of anyone getting ticketed/fined by the cops once they are called, but I'm not sure.
The problem now is that all of this complaining and whining by the homeowner has caused the Essex County Trustees of Reservations to label the park as "not accessible at this time" on their website. So be prepared to have no legitimate right to be there when you are explaining yourself to Gloucester's finest.
If you are lucky enough (as I was without even knowing it) and you go when he is not home, then expect a most pleasant walk through beautiful woods and a moderate offering of some Cape Ann granite, the best of which cannot be seen from 128.
I bet people will chime in and say stay away because you will hurt future access, and I agree with that sentiment to a certain extent. But, this is the kind of issue that MA boulderers have ALL THE TIME. For example, you literally have to walk through the back-drop of some guy's backyard shooting range to get to the Driven Boulder off Exit 13; sketchy to say the least.
I honestly don't know what my advice would be. It sucks when the limited number of boulders are further restricted by access issues, but climbers are NOT a widely recognized user group in this area of the state. There is no "coalition" of Cape Ann climbers that will have a unified voice regarding access and I personally doubt there will ever be one.
If you are going to drive from a ways away with Dikes Pond being your primary destination then I would encourage you to a least call up the Gloucester Police and just explain your situation in as polite and ignorant-sounding way as possible. And for those that actually read through this entire diatribe please note that climbers alone are not what spurs this guy to call and complain, he will call on dog-walkers, hikers, anyone who parks at the green gate.
If you want any info on some better bouldering in the area or if you are a local and want to get out climbing/exploring one day, feel free to drop me a PM. Otherwise, good luck!!
|By M Sprague|
From: New England
Nov 2, 2011
Have you actually gone to the town hall and asked to look at the plat maps to see who owns what and is paying taxes on it? If not, that would be the place to start. Then you have to start working on a relationship with the Trustees. Either that or burn the house down and shoot the guy, lol.
From: The Shrew, MA
Nov 5, 2011
I've never taken the time to go fishing for that kind of info, but you're absolutely right that the town hall is where to start if someone wants to go after this project.
The truth is, access is a pervasive problem in Mass, where tightly packed houses, winding streets, and ever-increasing development break up what little natural forest remains into inaccessible islands. This often forces you to park along private roads or to hike in from afar, which can be an uncomfortable experience as you and your buddy go trotting into the forest with your "mattress" on your backs and presumable picnic supplies in your backpacks. Seriously, I've had a nameless Law Enforcement Officer call a personal friend of mine (his cousin) to question why she would be seen walking off into the woods with "those two gay kids and their mattress". I share that just to give you an idea of what kind of recognition climbing (needless to say BOULDERING!) has in this area. It's not like we are in Boulder, CO where a crash-pad lashed to the top of your Subaru grants you access to all that the bubble has to offer. Maybe that will change? I doubt it.
I think in Cape Ann we are very lucky to have the areas that we do. Places like Cavalry, Redrock, Dogtown, and others. And I've yet to exhaust these opportunities to the point where Mt. Ann feels "worth the time".
|By Chris McNeil|
From: Essex, MA
Jan 18, 2012
He does not own the parking area. A recent douche move of the house owner stealing my girlfriend's license plate has landed him with a felony charge and a police order to leave hikers alone.
From: The Shrew, MA
Jan 19, 2012
Chris, that's hilarious. I figured it was only a matter of time before he overstepped his bounds trying to control public parking. Glad it wasn't a worse altercation.
|By Tim McGivern|
Mar 22, 2012
I was the steward for Mt. Ann for the Trustees a few years back. (I think I said it was Greenbelt land in another thread, but you are correct, it is Trustee land). The access to that park was closed when they removed a rest stop on Rte. 128 that provided access. You can see the empty space where it was on the highway. Once this rest stop was removed, access was gone. It had nothing to do with the man at the end of New Way Lane. The gate and road that goes to Dyke's Pond are owned by the city. I spoke directly to the city concerning this, and they do not have a problem with people using this point for access to Mt. Ann; however, it cannot be an official entrance because water supplies have to have restricted access (aka "No Trespassing"). They do not have a problem with people hiking, etc. on the water supply land, but they reserve the right to have you removed if they need to. In their eyes, hiking and other things that don't impact the water are not the problem. Dog walkers, kids drinking, and people dumping is where they will have an issue.
Here is the bottom line: If you want to climb at Dykes Pond, you have to park your car so it does not obstruct the gate. This leaves parking on New Way Lane, which is difficult to do without causing another problem (this road, private property abuts road, etc.). Here is the good news. Park at Red Rocks parking lot and walk up there. You can even walk along the highway ramp and sneak into the woods.
If you are on the boulders that are visible to the grumpy man and he comes over to you in order to kick you out, tell him that it is not his land. If he continues to badger you, call the police. If there is no car, then he has nothing to go on. I dealt with this issue awhile back, and I'll see if I can post the email from Gloucester saying the land can be used.
|By Chris McNeil|
From: Essex, MA
Mar 25, 2012
Thanks, Tim. I will just add that the small parking area at the gate only is big enough for two cars at most. The summit area has about a dozen great clean and very dry boulder problems around it.
|By Old Timer|
From: North Andover MA
Jul 26, 2013
I just got a $15 ticket from the cops yesterday for parking in one of the designated two parking spots at the end of New Way Lane. They ticketed me for swimming in the water supply when in fact it was overcast and cool and I was actually putting up a few new boulder problems. I am planning to appeal the ticket.
Jul 26, 2013
That sucks, Pete. You should absolutely appeal. I've noticed that area getting pretty crowded with cars mostly I think by kids fishing and swimming (and drinking and building forts and fires) back there. They gate is also getting blocked a lot but there are no signs anywhere specifically prohibiting parking. Anyway I doubt it's climbers, as very few of us actually venture back there.
Let me know how the appeal goes.
From: Chocorua, NH
Jul 28, 2013
Hey Pete, I heard the Gloucester PD wrote you that ticket because they're upset you're cleaning and establishing all these great problems in the area. They want these boulders to remain hidden and covered in lichen for none to enjoy, forever! Stay out of Cape Ann, old man! Hahahaha!