Change has been constant throughout the 100-year history of this piece of countryside. Where once a shared landscape of farmland and woodland dominated, a campus of higher education overtook them and ruled the property for nine decades. But it too, like the farms and fields before it, lapsed into disuse allowing the woodland to reassert itself and provide us with the landscape we enjoy today.
Since it was a beautiful day, Kevin, Sara, and I went hiking in Camp Columbia State Park for New Year’s Day. It was chilly a little bit. But we bundled up. We took the Camp Columbia Tower Trail, which is a short (0.6 miles/1 km roundtrip) trail. When Kevin, Sara, and I climbed the stairs of the tower, we had a nice view of the Camp Colombia State Forest. I can only imagine, how beautiful the view will be in Autumn again. While Kevin went down the steps and looked up some history about the Instrument House, which is now a ruin, and the tower, I had to get Sara down again. The outer staircase gave her some anxiety. Once she was on the ground and away from the tower, she did fine again.
The Colony Shoreline Trail in October 2012
Autumn At A Texas Creek
Autumn has arrived. Our yard and forest become more colorful as the season goes on. We had cooler nights, just above freezing, which help the leaves to turn into their beautiful colors. Just in time, the Autumn berries begin to ripen for the cold days ahead. Birds and small critters will need all the nutrition they can get before Winter will arrive in New England. Most birds have left for the South, where they will over-winter until Spring comes back.
A major change took place there about 7,000 years ago when water volume was low. The connection between Lake Huron and Lake Erie was cut off and the Upper Great Lakes drained through the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence Valley. Only the flow from Lake Erie went over Niagara Falls, and a narrow gorge and shallow Riverbed were formed.
Today, the flow of water coming from the wider upper Great Gorge is channeled into the narrow section, thus creating the turbulent Whirlpool Rapids. The violent waters of the Whirlpool Rapids flow into the Eddy Basin before entering the Whirlpool.
September 9, 2022
Kevin, Sara, and I arrived in Niagara Falls in the late afternoon. We drove to our hotel, ate something, rested for a moment and went from there to the Whirlpool State Park. We didn’t want to deal with the big tourist crowds that evening. So, we were tourists away from the tourists. We saw the falls at night five years ago. I could wait until the following day. Kevin was in Wheatfield High School in the late 80s and early 90s. He knows this area like his back pocket.
At Whirlpool State Park Kevin, Sara, and I took a little hike on the Whirlpool Scenic Trail. It was very interesting to witness how the rushing waters of the rapids flow from the Eddy Basin into the Whirlpool, where the water is forced to circle around, hence the name “whirlpool”. Kevin also discovered a groundhog on the side of the river wall. That groundhog was so used to humans that it didn’t care, we were only a foot and a half away from its burrow. The chipmunks and squirrels came much closer. We think they are being fed by visitors.
The sun hadn’t set yet. So, we chose to go to a second destination, before we called it a day.
… to be continued …
It has been a while since I was at Echo Lake Park. The last time Kevin and I visited the park we saw the beaver pulling a big tree branch across the lake. This was shortly after school ended. Now that school is back in session and Autumn is coming, I’ll visit the lake more frequently again. A few trees showed signs of Autumn. But I also enjoy the native blooms at the park. The Common Evening Primroses, Goldenrods, Joe-Pye Weeds, Knotweed, and Purple Loosestrifes are in full bloom. Geese and ducks hang out at Echo Lake Park. They enjoy the cooler mornings and warm afternoons as well. It was a beautiful day today.
This year, we have a severe drought in Connecticut. Not enough rain has fallen this Summer. And it shows. Our birch tree, the sumac bushes, and the Virginia creeper vines change colors. Birds have picked most of the pokeweed berries. Only very few jewelweed blossoms are in nice bloom. Hopefully, we will get more rain in September. The flora and fauna need it.
This morning Kevin and I went on another hike at the White Memorial Conservation Center. The Apple Hill Trail has an elevation gain of nearly 500 feet and is 3.3 miles roundtrip. Along this trail, there are quite a few tree roots and stones and a marsh boardwalk to get to the observation deck. The Observation deck is a wooden platform with a staircase. From there we had a good view over a field, Bantam Lake, and the surrounding mountains. The wind was very refreshing in this humidity. It got warmer, and we made our way back to the car across the Marsh Point Road entrance.