I had heard on the radio this morning that a big section of the Manhan rail-trail in Easthampton had been washed away. Later at home, I saw a story about it on MassLive, with a startling picture. Also, blogger Rambling VanDog sent me a head's up on it; he had just posted about another amazing washout from this past weekend's rains, in his home town of Holyoke. I had to see this trail-chasm for myself.
We scooted up to Easthampton for a look, with walking the dog as the pretext for the trip. We parked where the trail intersects Fort Hill Road. This sign greeted us there.
No one appeared to be paying attention to the sign, and jogger/walker/bicycle traffic seemed to be about normal for a weekday. We walked maybe a little less than half a mile and there it was:
It is indeed a big, deep, hole in the ground.
...This might take some time to fix...
In the meantime it appears to be something of an attraction. In the few minutes we were there close to a dozen people had come over for a look.
While Kelly talked dogs with some passerby's (her favorite topic), I took a quick video of the chasm, to give it some 3D perspective...
Strangely it appears to have washed out to the right, from my perspective, away from the Oxbow, which is at the bottom of a hill that slopes down on the left hand side. There's a stream that runs along the right hand side, so the rushing water must have eaten away at the earth underneath the trail along the stream, rather than washing away downhill, as I had suspected. Also, I don't know if it's related, but right nearby there were several trees trailside that looked like they were ripped apart...could the storm have done all this?
It didn't look like they had brought down any heavy machinery to work on the hole yet, which might have damaged the trees.
On the way home, we stopped by Temple Street in Holyoke, for a first-hand look at the site of the Holyoke washout. Looks like some digging-out has occured.
The most recent downpours apparently were straws that are finally breaking the camel's backs in many water soaked, stressed areas of terrain in the valley, after the long tropical summer we've had...