Laura and I are no strangers to fun outdoor adventures. Visiting local rivers is one of our favorite things to do – you may have discovered that by browsing the other pages of this website. While we were living in Connecticut between the years of 2008-2013, we frequented quite a few of these places with the Salmon River being at the top, or near the top of our list. Please read through the entries below to learn about how we ended up at this river and to see lots of pictures of it as well as the surrounding area.
Salmon River – Connecticut State Forest
July 16, 2009
The other day was kind of rough. I spent a good amount of time on the internet getting phone numbers for “Pick Your Own” farms around the state and calling them. I was disappointed because so many of them didn’t have anything to pick. Many of the crops are running late because of the lousy weather we had in June. The local farms around here are booming, but the ones up north aren’t on schedule.
Since we wanted to just get out there, we decided to hop in the car for a cruise around some roads we have never been on. I had an idea, so off we went.
For the past year, I have been driving by a sign that says something like, “Connecticut Wine Tour” and never gave it much thought. I figured that since this sign would probably bring us somewhere neat, we would follow it.
Okay, so we jumped in the car and started driving. It was more of a sight seeing tour than anything else. We first passed the Easter Seals at Camp Hemlocks and did a quick drive through. Camp Hemlocks is “…the place where people of all ages with various disabilities, realize their dreams and strive to reach their highest potential.” It’s a pretty neat place. I liked the fact that they have a small lake that people can canoe and kayak on. We just drove through and left.
Onward and upward. Next, we came across the winery that I guess those wine tour signs were talking about. It’s called, “Priam Vineyard.” We drove up the driveway to find some growing grapes and a nice wine tasting building. I really wanted to go in, but didn’t have any cash on me. I looked at Laura and told her that we will put this one on the list to come back to…perhaps on the weekend. Oh, the disappointment. We drove back down the driveway and left.
We made a right out of the road and drove for only a mile or so and saw a sign for “Day Pond State Park in Colchester.” We decided to pull in the entrance to do a quick drive through. I have actually seen this park’s description a few times while looking for various state parks last Summer. I kind of always passed it by because I thought they just had a pond and that’s it. Honestly, I didn’t do too much digging into its writeup. Well, the park has more than a pond. There are some hiking trails as well. I wouldn’t say the trail system is more extensive than Gay City State Park, but they go for quite a distance. Of course, I may be wrong because I only gave the trail map a quick glance. Are you seeing a trend here?
We stopped the car and walked around for a few minutes and decided to continue on with our driving tour. I did have a lot of fun driving on the dirt road with the car. I am always trying to see how it handles in different environments.
After that, we pretty much thought the major sights were covered. We were driving down the road, heading back to where we came from when I saw a sign for “Salmon River – Connecticut State Forest.” Now, this was interesting. I was curious what the difference between and state park and a state forest was, so we pulled in. As far as I can tell, there isn’t much of a difference. We saw parking areas, picnic tables, walking trails…all the usual stuff.
Since I wanted to go for a walk and actually achieve something for the day, we found a parking spot and hopped out of the car. We walked towards the river and that is where the picture taking began.
There is a pretty neat trail that takes you down the river quite a bit. Along the way, we saw burned out camp fires, so there may be camping at this place, although we didn’t see any signs for camping. The sign out front also said the park, or “forest” closed at dusk. Hmmm. We walked a pretty good distance and then turned back.
Upon returning to the house, I did a little research on Google Earth to discover that this Salmon River runs all the way down to the Connecticut River. I think it would be pretty cool to tube down it. Getting back up would be an issue though.
Okay, let’s see some photos.
Walking Along the Salmon River
July 16, 2011
We have been discovering the most amazing places lately, and believe me, I don’t use the word “amazing” very often. When I hear that word, I usually think of a twenty something responding to a question like, “How to you like your new job?” “Oh, it’s AMAZING.” Or something like, “Do you like the new town you moved to? “Yes, I love it. It’s AMAAAAAZING.” Very overused word and I make fun of that demographic because I’ve heard it a thousand times. But remember, I love all demographics and I think very carefully before I make fun of one of them.
Anyway, we have been riding along the Airline Trail and have enjoyed almost every minute of our rides. I’ll talk more about it in my next post, but one topic I want to tell you about today is a small section of the Salmon River that runs along the rail trail. The area of river is next to what they call, “Former Airline Railroad Bridge at River Road, Colchester, CT.” In case you couldn’t guess, I lifted that from a photo description on Google Earth.
Here’s a picture of the former airline railroad bridge:
There is a dirt parking area right North of the bridge.
The first time we saw this section of river was during our last trip on the trail. We rode over the bridge and looked to the left and there it was. Hugely exciting, partly because only a handful of people in this world have seen it. It’s back there and to explore the area, you would need to meet a few conditions, such as: you must own a bike, you must like to ride it, you must ride it on the trail, you must ride it on this particular section of the trail…on and on.
Since we were riding bikes the day we saw the river, we decided that we would come back later in the week to walk down for a visit. River Road is awful to ride on. I went in on the bike for just a bit and came right back out. Way too much rock in the road.
Here’s a section of the road. This doesn’t look too bad, but believe me, the other sections were worse.
When we made it down to the river, I was excited to see such a diverse area. The river twists and turns and has a lot of rock all around. There were some kids walking up the road and they told me they just got done tubing down a section of the river. I love seeing people out and enjoying secret places like this.
Here is the part of river I am talking about:
We played around for a while and I took some pictures, then we continued our walk down River Road. It’s a nice road that has the river running along it on the left side and on the right, a huge, steep hill that goes up to the rail trail. If two people were so inclined, one person could ride a bike on River Road and the other could ride along the rail trail and they could yell back and forth to each other. Just a thought.
We walked for about a mile and then turned around. There were a few families hanging out and fishing and stuff like that. I thought that was cool because my faith in society has been kind of hammered as of late and when I see people doing things I used to do as a kid, it makes me think things aren’t as bad as they are. It’s good that these parents were bringing their kids there to explore the wild.
Now that I know about these neat areas, I have been calling friends and inviting them to come visit. I really want to go for a bike ride to show them these things. You know, kind of “show off” a little bit. I know just what these guys like and I think they would really enjoy it.
Salmon & Jeremy Rivers in North Westchester
March 26, 2012
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
On our way out of the woods and almost all the way through the field, towards the 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.