Sunday, October 26, 2008

Slip Sliding

The dreaded day had arrived. Kelly was forcing us to pick pumpkins. Ok, but since we're going to be heading north on a drive anyway, lets mix a little hike into the day. It was a good drenching rain on Saturday night, so we figured it might be a good day to see if Glendale Falls, in Middlefield, was flowing water.

Getting there as usual was half the fun, and we trekked over hill and dale. Into the foothills of the Berkshires, through Huntington and Chester, and then into Middlefield...

A beautiful ride; If I was alone I would have been stopping every couple miles for a picture, but I knew my passengers wouldn't stand for that. We finally arrived at this marker, set up by the venerable Trustees of Reservations.

We had read something about this place on their website, and came prepared for a hike just in case, but found there was no need. We could hear the falls roaring as soon as we exited the car. A very short walk through the woods, and there it was.

Big and broad. Vast amounts of water churned by over ledged and outcrops. The water came right up to and entered the woods, where it was possible to step right out onto the rocks. The slippery rocks.

The roar of the water pouring by seemed to have no effect on a lady and her dog that was sitting across the way. She was intently reading a book, apparently oblivious to the mass of water sweeping close by.

That must be one good book.

As impressive as this show if hydronic power was, it was in fact only the relatively passive upper section of the falls. We scrambled down through the woods a short ways, to where it got a little steeper and a little more intense.

The woods here were beautiful on this day. Soaking wet and green, with coniferous trees and laurels dripping with moisture, and moss covered rocks and roots sticking up everywhere, through slick fallen leaves...

Water poured out of cracks in the half buried rocks and emerged from underground channels from the river nearby, criss-crossing in streams and miniature waterfalls all over the forested hillside, further adding to the slipperyness level of the whole scene.

And everything was slippery. It was hard to find secure footing anywhere and Kelly slipped and fell at one point, severely alarming me and Chris. But she was alright; just jamming a finger a bit, and scratching her palm up a little. She's a tough cookie though, and shook it off.

Not learning any lesson from this at all, I very carefully clawed my way to the slime covered top of an outcrop, jutting out a bit over the water, to get a better view. There were no handholds on the rock and it was a little dizzying balancing myself there way above the rushing water. I captured some quick video and pics with shaky hands, and decided to immediately slink back to shore before vertigo sent me into the drink, and the luge ride of my life.

There was a guy with his daughters standing at the edge of the outcrop, waiting impatiently for me to clamber back down so he could get a turn at the view. I was going to warn him about how slippery it was, but decided that he must know what he is doing. Nope. About half way up, his feet slid out directly from under him and he fell hard on his side on the slime covered rocks. His daughters simultaneously gave out a yelp. Thinking for sure he was about to go in, I cringed and reached forward to help, with a too-late "Watch out, that's really slippery!" But he caught himself before he began to slide, and carefully picked himself up, giving out a nervous laugh. But surely he didn't think it was funny at all. In fact, he probably nearly wet himself, in more ways than one...

At any rate, he much more slowly made it to the edge of the rock, and took a couple quick pics himself. Here's a pic of him and the rock from below.

We hung out for a bit and took it all in. The falls are very impressive indeed, and apparently, especially good after a rainstorm. But the afternoon was now half gone; it was time for us to head out, and find those pumpkins.

It was another hit, for the Trustees of Reservations...

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