A few weeks ago, we decided to go for a walk on the rail trail I’ve been telling you about. It was an extremely mild Winter (knock on wood), so we’ve been getting a lot of extra exercise in. We walk in the woods, walk on the road, but most enjoyably, we walk on the rail trail.
I generally don’t support a lot of things in life, but rail trails are an exception. Just last night, I was discussing how the rail trail we have so close by is a phenomenon of nature. It cuts through dozens of towns and brings you places in the woods you would never think to find yourself. It’s amazing really. If you ever have the opportunity to walk or ride one, take the afternoon off and go for it. Go for a few miles.
We’ve decided that one particular entry point is our favorite. It’s located in North Westchester, CT and it’s our favorite because the area offers quite a bit of diversity. There’s a nice sized dirt parking area, two intersecting rivers, an old stone bridge, a larger constructed steel bridge and a large field to walk through on a sunny day. There’s also a Hemlock canopied dirt road that travels alongside the Salmon River. The road leads to the Salmon River State Park that’s quite a bit in distance away.
We thought we’d go for a simple walk along the trail to visit a particular favorite spot of ours. The spot is really great for bird watching and even has a bench available for doing just that. You can see the area I’m talking about in this post I wrote a while back. The photos with the lake.
As we arrived, parked and made our way up the path and onto the trail, I looked in the direction of the area we wanted to visit. I nodded in such a way that said, “There ain’t no way I’m walking that far.” The trail is straight as an arrow and I could pretty much see the light at the end of the tunnel. No seriously. I could see the light at the end of the trail where it intersected the road. Across the street from that road is the lake and unfortunately, the road was about three miles away. I wasn’t going to do it that day. Perhaps another day, but not that day.
I suggested that we walk to the steel bridge and see what happens. We would get about a half mile in, hang out and look down at the river and perhaps talk for a while. The weather was perfect and there really wasn’t much else I wanted to do. Getting out of the house was my only motivation. I’m not sure of her motivation, but it’s usually much more than mine. She generally wants to “do work” when we get out there, but I have a habit of stopping to smell the air and pick a few flowers. Oftentimes, we don’t see eye to eye when it comes to exercising while walking.
Since the bridge was on the way to the end of the tunnel, she agreed and may have been thinking she would bide her time until we were close enough to “just finish the walk.” It happens often – her attempting to change my mind, that is.
As it turned out, I have become accustomed to her gentle persuasion through the years and was aware of what might happen. While I told myself I simply wanted to stand on the bridge to watch the water flow by, I may have also been interested in traveling down below to a field I had learned about while browsing online. From what I could see on the computer, right over the bridge, there was an opening that had what looked like ATV tracks through it. It didn’t look too interesting from what I saw, but the conditions of the day kind of nudged me into suggesting that we climb down the steep embankment, walk along a small path that hugged the river and that led straight to the field.
So we did that. We climbed down that rocky and at times treacherous embankment and walked along that path that led to the field. We didn’t know exactly where we were going or what we’d find when we got there, but we just continued walking and had a nice time while doing it. It’s always a nice time when March offers temperatures in the 60s and warm sunshine. No bugs and a clear river right next door.
That small path wasn’t too long. It meandered and followed the river, but fairly quickly led around a few corners and into the field. We followed it and were surprised to find ourselves all alone in a dry, straw covered opening in the woods. An opening that let the sun shine in. There’s nothing like a Winter’s day that offers something like that.
We continued walking in the field, along one of the ATV trails and found an area where someone had brought a picnic table. I’m not sure who brought the table there because I’m not sure who’s land we were on, but I’m guessing it’s public land – and being such, I’m assuming the town dropped off the table. It doesn’t matter much because once she saw the table, she wanted to park herself on it for a while to look for some birds. The table was right next to the river and all throughout the area, all we heard were the sounds birds make.
I’ll be honest with you – I’m not too interested in birds. I’m more interested in following trails, so I left her there while I continued along the trail I was on.
I’m a selfish person, which perfectly explains why I did what I did. After a few minutes of walking along the trail in the field, I discovered the sun was no longer shining. It was hidden behind some branches and when I looked up from the path I was on, I realized I was in the woods next to the river. When I looked around, I had to run back to tell her about it. I knew it would fall on deaf ears, but I was sure that once I explained the situation, she would grudgingly follow.
And this is why we decided to visit the field and the woods and the river again just a few days ago. For the Hemlock forest I found myself walking through while she was resting on the picnic table looking for birds.
After I dragged her from the table and had her follow me into the forest, we found a nice area to rest. It wasn’t very far from the picnic table at all, but instead of the river alongside a field, we sat on a moss covered hill, alongside the river. And the area we sat was shaded by tall Hemlock trees. And those Hemlocks also covered the river. Really, you should have seen it – all that sunshine glistening off the waves as the water would flow over those rocks. I found it quite mesmerizing – as I hope you will too as you watch the video I took.
Salmon & Jeremy Rivers in North Westchester, CT
We spent a good long time sitting alongside that river. There was no reason not to. Although the sun was falling, the weather was nice and we didn’t have much to do. So we hung out until we didn’t want to anymore.
On our way out of the woods and almost all the way through the field, towards the rail trail, we started talking. We were skirting the edge of the field and I kept stopping to tell her how much this reminded me of places I used to go riding. I have stories and stories about my younger days riding ATVs. Since this field was full of trails, all those memories rushed back to me and since she was the only available person, she felt the brunt of what I had to say.
As I was in the middle of a story, I looked up to see not a cloud in the sky. I saw the sun still hanging there, so I decided to do something different. I decided to sit down in the field and I invited her to follow.
Now, this probably doesn’t seem all too strange, but think about the last time you were in a big field like that and think about the last time you sat down in it to enjoy the sunshine. I can remember doing this a thousand times when I was younger, but a few weeks ago, it felt foreign. But it also felt really good.
Like I mentioned above, we visited the area again just a few days ago. I really wanted to write a post about it and knew I would need some footage to make it worthwhile, so that was my goal for going back. We visited the same areas and saw a few more people out there doing the same things we were doing. They were sitting on the picnic table, they were walking alongside the river and they were in the woods. Funny thing though – I didn’t see any of these people laying down in the field with their hands clasped behind their head, smiling at the sky. Strange.