Sunday, December 28, 2014

Campbell Falls, New Marlborough

Yesterday, the falls were glorious; lots of water coming down the rocks. Although it's almost January, the temperature was in the high forties and almost no ice was present. Campbell Falls State Park is in Norfolk, Connecticut, but the actual falls are in Massachusetts. The park is a cooperative effort of the two states. The parking area is on Spaulding Road off Conn. Rte 272 which is called Norfolk Road in Mass. A sweet trail, about a half mile, leads you through tall trees, ferns and blow-downs covered with moss. I also like to walk the rarely-traveled dirt roads, like Campbell Falls Road and Canaan Valley Road into Connecticut, through woods and farm land and by the river.

The falls are almost 100 feet tall. The view at the bottom is wonderful, but there is also another vantage point. If you go back up to the dirt road, Campbell Falls Road, make a left and continue just over the stone bridge to a trail on the left, you can go to a slanting flat rock at the top of the falls. Here you can look to the left where the river goes under an old and beautifully-constructed stone bridge, courses by you and, to the right, disappears over the rock edge with a roar. Very dramatic!

Campbell Falls on the Whiting River.
Ginger Creek comes in from the south-east
to join Whiting River just below the falls
Someone had built an elaborate 5-foot tall cairn on the side of the creek.
At the top of the falls is the old stone bridge.
The water cascades noisily over the rocks.
Two types of lichen and some moss on a birch log. I love the colors!
Some soft green foliose (leafy) lichen.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yokun Ridge, Lenox

Tuesday, although there was no snow on the trees and not much left on the ground in Great Barrington, by the time I got to Olivia's Overlook in Lenox, there were a few inches of snow on the ground. We hiked the Brother's Trail, Old Baldhead Road and the Ridge Trail.

It was spectacular how in some sections the snow clinging to the branches was almost four inches deep, and in other sections the branches were bare. In one spot, I looked to the right and the trees had no snow, and on the left they were covered with a thick layer of snow! A great hike--you never knew what would be around the next bend!

The snow sticking to the branches was magical!
A curtain of icicles hung from a log spanning the brook.
Monk's Pond was mostly frozen.
I loved the monochromatic scenery.
This pine tree was heavily laden with snow
although only a few inches were on the ground.

McLennon Reservation, Tyringham

November 25, we hiked the loop at McLennon Reservation in Tyringham, a Trustees of Reservations property. We parked on Fenn Road just off Main Road because the dirt road up to the trail, a half-mile, is better walked than driven. The sky was gray but the air was warm and perfect for hiking. 

We were in for a couple of surprises. Camp Brook, which drains Hale Swamp, was loaded with water from all the rain the last week. And, when we got up to Hale Swamp, we were delighted to see that beavers had been busy building a dam, upgrading their lodge and preparing for winter. The last time we had been here, in the spring, there was no sign of beaver, just a small creek winding through a meadow. Now the dam was about five feet high and the swamp was covered with water. Easy to see that beavers have a huge effect on their surroundings!
(Photos by Janice Tassinari.)

Fenn Road is an easy walk through the forest.
Camp Brook had wonderful falling water
visible as you walk along the trail up to the swamp.
The large swamp was full of water behind the new dam.

In the course of a few months, the beavers built this 5-foot high dam.
In the background you can see the pile of sticks and mud that is their lodge.
We also saw the ends of branches sticking up around it.
The beavers planted them in the muddy bottom for winter food;
they eat the tender bark on the twigs and branches.
A Winter Berry bush was very festive with its bright berries
in the mostly subdued surroundings.
I'm always amazed by this huge maple, about 15 feet around.
It's probably been used as a boundary marker for hundreds of years.