Monday, January 11, 2021

Indian Well Overlook in All Seasons


Overlooks are important. The overlook at Indian Well has become such a popular destination that it's hard to believe there wasn't any overlook just a few years ago. To be clear, back in the 1930s when the Paugussett Trail was routed along the ridgetop, there was a great view of the river, but the growing trees eventually blocked the view.  The photo below shows what the view looked like back in early 2017:

Early 2017 - No view!

The view was cleared shortly after. This was the same year the Paugussett Trail was rerouted between the falls and the overlook to make it safer (the previous route was a cliff).  With permission from the state park manager, Colin Carroll, a trained sawyer from the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA), cut a large oak tree (see video below, and turn on the sound). It was impressive! Smaller trees were cut and trimmed back later by CFPA trail manager Terry Gallagher. 

Turn on the sound and listen to the crashing oak

These days, there is a steady stream of visitors stopping to take pictures of the Housatonic River. Often it's families with children taking group selfies, good friends, or romantic couples. Most turn around and go back to the Indian Well parking areas where they started, while a few continue on down the trail to walk the Tahmore Trail loop. 


The overlook changes with the seasons, weather, and time of day, so no matter how many times you walk past, it's always a new and fresh view. 



Saturday, January 9, 2021

Welcome 2021; First Work Party

Saturday was a clear cold morning, but no snow cover, so we got a jump on our Spring brush cutting.  A group of us met at Sinsabaugh Heights off Meadow St. to clear barberry and other brush along the Paugussett Trail.  We were working on the stretch from Mayflower Lane to Rt. 110 by Indian Well State Park.

Everyone was well bundled up and masked as the peaceful morning echoed with the sound of power tools and the smell of 2-cycle fuel.  Graham, Bob, & Mark were paying special attention to spiky barberry, thorny greenbriars, and barbed raspberries along the trail that would explode during the growing season.  Cutting back those briars now will make everyone's life easier in May when we're running around town trying to keep up with all the Spring growth.

Here's Mark using the mowing head to take out barberry near the old barn foundation.  Barberry is an invasive species that forms beds of thorns that are prime habitat for ticks.  Taking out the barberry now not only prevents getting scratched up, but also reduces the odds of Lyme disease, so the clearing is a twofer benefit.

There was one small beech blowdown that we'll have to come back and cut up later.

We finished up down on Rt. 110 by Indian Well.  There's always more to do but we cut the briars back and it was a good morning's work done.  We also did general trail clean up moving logs, pulling out hung up branches and vines, clearing sticks, etc.  Thanks to Bill, Gino, Tony, Bob, Graham, Mark & Terry.  Here's to 2021 being a better year for trail work than 2020.