Sunday, June 17, 2012

Waterfalls in the Woods

I've been hearing for a while now about a supposedly impressive waterfall hidden along Spruce Brook in the woods of Naugatuck State Forest. I say "hidden" because I've talked to people who know about it, and there are a few sources that mention it online, but it's not marked on any map I can find, and the written directions I've found are sketchy at best. So today, Paul and I decided to go on an adventure deep into the woods to try to hunt down this fabled waterfall. And while we didn't find the fall (probably because my directions hinged on taking a road that's currently closed, and we weren't sure exactly which paths we should follow coming from the other direction), we did see some other really lovely parts of Spruce Brook, and it was just a gorgeous day for a walk through some really beautiful woods.

A few woodland blooms greeted us on our way, including a large patch of Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica):

And Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), which I don't think I've seen before:

Is it just me, or do these flowers look like they have fangs?

We walked along the brook for a while, which cut through a very pretty ravine with mossy cliffs, and reached a place where some small falls ran into a cute little pool (complete with minnows):

The rocks above these rivulets were mostly dry (although not exactly what I would call a path), and we were feeling adventuresome, so we clambered up the stream a little ways and ended up faced with some almost-falls coursing around big boulders -- it's difficult to get a sense of scale in this next picture, but the mature trees on the sides should help:

Surrounded by cliffs and rocks and running water, this would make a great place to sit and relax -- the only things marring the scenery were the empty beer bottles lying around. (Seriously, what is wrong with people? We picked up a few particularly offensive pieces of trash, but we couldn't clean up everything.)

It was fun exploring in the woods, and heartening that we didn't get lost! The road we were supposed to take should be open again in a few months (after the state finishes fixing a bridge), so we might come here again in the fall to see what we can find. I'm glad we took advantage of this beautiful, temperate day -- especially since I just glanced at the weather forecast and it's supposed to get really hot soon! Yay, summer. :P

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