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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chester-Blandford State Forest(Berkshires/ Pioneer Valley)

Fall foliage is at its peak in many local communities, meaning there are beautiful views around every bend.  A drive down the street or on a local backroad can turn up some amazing photo opportunities. The Methodist Church in the village of Nassau, framed by fall maples.
 Took a ride out into Western Massachusetts to enjoy the afternoon, soaking in many of the fall views.
Alder Meadow Brook in Windsor, Ma.
 Middle Branch of the Westfield River along East River Road.
 Autumn colors in Huntington, Ma.
 Stopped by 2776 acre Chester-Blandford State Forest to hike into Sanderson Brook Falls, the most popular attraction at the forest.  The trail follows babbling Sanderson Brook and is actually a wide woods road that was built in the 1930's by the CCC(Civilian Conservation Corps).  A small pool along Sanderson Brook.
 A mostly cloudy day early on was clearing out quite nicely for the 1 mile walk to the falls.
 A canopy of foliage above the trail.
 Leaves cover the wide trail on the way to the falls.
 Sanderson Brook Falls is quite an impressive sight, dropping 60 feet down a rock face wall.
 A zoomed in look at the cascading falls.
 Sanderson Brook flowing swiftly along downstream from the falls.
 After leaving the falls, I walked back along Sanderson Brook Rd to the H. Newman Marsh Memorial Trail.  The Marsh trail climbs very steeply up through a mixed forest to beautiful vistas atop Observation Hill, at an elevation of approximately 1200 feet.
 It was a stiff climb, and I found myself a bit winded along the way.
 After about .9 of a mile, the trail finally levels off a bit, and soon after you arrive at a gorgeous north facing vista.  Here is a panoramic view from Observation Hill. 
 The nearby peaks hovering over the Westfield River Valley, bathed in shadows and fall colors.
 A glimpse into the steep valley of the Westfield River.
I met a couple of very nice gentlemen along the way, who made great conversation.  The trail continues as a loop(or so we thought).  As we arrived at the loop part of the trail, which leads back down to Sanderson Brook Road, there are "Trail Closed" signs posted.  We decided to continue on along the blue blazed Observation Hill woods road, which lead south for quite a distance.  We soon realized that this was not indeed a reroute, but with darkness setting in soon, decided to press on.  We eventually arrived at a wide, unmarked trail that lead to the west.  We knew that this trail would have to bring us back down toward the brook so we walked through the woods, steeply descending most of the way, until we arrived back at Sanderson Brook Road.  The walk back was filled with pleasant conversation.  I would like to say thank you to David and his friend, as well as their dog, who kept me company on another great day in the woods.  Total hike distance was about 4.6 miles RT.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Walking Man -- Lovely shot "A canopy of foliage above the trail." Any chance I can purchase a high res copy? Captures exactly the angle of sight that I'm looking for, and a wonderful layering of lower and higher canopies and light. Nicely done.