Amid October’s fall foliage, a forgotten place is found
The autumn leaves create an abstract pattern of fall foliage color on the trail ahead. We come to a short span of a wooden bridge. As I look over the side, instead of water, I see a curiously flat-bed of leaves. My attention is drawn to the rock wall that this stream has cut through the centuries and something doesn’t look right. First you have the rock wall then there is a second inner man-made rock wall with a space between the two walls.
Upon closer examination I can see that a rough-hewn channel to walk down is carved into the rock leading down, down to what? Indeed what had we found? (Continues below)
Before I tell this tale of fall foliage in October, I need to explain what forgotten places are (to me). They are a result of getting out of your car and exploring. Also a forgotten place is anywhere and anything and all that’s required is that you have found it.
(Jeff’s definition): A forgotten place is a location or object that most people don’t remember that’s there.
I’m sure today’s forgotten place is known by several people, but for me, it’s an unknown and it fills me with wonder at who built it and why? I’ve made guesses but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Today’s forgotten location is easy enough to find because it resides on or just off of a rail trail in New Hampshire, just north of Danbury on route 4. (I’ve tried to find it via google maps and the rail trail is clearly present but not my pull out. You’ll have to go to traillink.com or visit it in person and find it)
Rail trails for the uninitiated, are old, no longer used railroad lines that have been dug up and turned into bike and/or pedestrian pathways between towns. The following link shows this rail trail and some photos to give you an idea if it’s something you want to travel. (Jeff’s link tip of the day) The Northern rail trail in Grafton County will take you to trailLink.com.
You’ll find this rail trail by traveling Northwest on route 4. When you drive through Danbury NH, you will be only a few miles from the Grafton point of the rail trail. My point that I go in on has a small pond on one side of the road and a dirt parking lot on the opposite side of route 4.
We left our car in the parking lot and traveled past the gate at the Southwest side of the parking lot. After a short distance we came to a pond which had pretty decent color (this was only 6 Oct) and on good day probably around 11-14 October, the color could be spectacular with an incredible reflection.
(Jeff’s Photo Tip) My suggestion for photographing this pond is to visit it in the early morning, as the sun will be rising behind you and illuminating the far shore.
Lisa and I continued past the pond for short distance when we came to a short wooden bridge no more than 10 or 15 feet long. As I stated above, I felt the need to explore.
I found a rough path cut into the stone channel between the walls. Being curious, we followed these rough-hewn steps to the bottom, where we found a manmade dam. What appeared, from above to be a dry leaf covered bed was in fact a slow-moving stream completely covered in autumn leaves.
We now tried to figure out why the dam was built and by whom? Our guess is that the narrow gauge train could stop above it and pump water from the dam, into its boiler. (I’d love to hear your guesses).
To me the, “why” it was here seems apparent but the “who” was more interesting. Was it the rail line? Was it locals? It’s fun to wonder about such things.
Most times when people go looking for fall foliage they want to find picture perfect New England fall foliage scenes. They ask me, where to photograph picturesque small town commons, with white churches and stone fences.
These are all great subjects for contrasting with fall foliage in New England but to me, this rail trail, is what I try to tell people about all the time. Getting out of the car and finding forgotten places is what is important. Somebody created this dam and cut steps into the stone years ago and today it’s still standing waiting to be re-discovered.
By getting out of the car and doing something as simple as exploring, we find something that can only be found by being on foot, as this is not on the map.
Things are lost, only if they are forgotten. This story keeps this little manmade dam from being forgotten and we brought it back to life, if only for us.
So when you come to New England looking for your fall foliage experience, be prepared to explore the back roads and byways of New England because this is where the really interesting things are found.
Here is a link to my foliage safari’s… Don’t know what they are, check them out.Jeff "Foliage" Folger You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
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I have several pages that I write blogs for such as: http://www.4cornersnewengland.com/
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.
I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.