When last we left our intrepid explorers…it was Friday and raining so we stayed home. We did get out over the weekend to get some groceries, made another stop at the Elks lodge in Greenfield, get Connie’s bangs trimmed, have another great pizza from Village Pizza in Greenfield, and go to Mass…but otherwise we just stayed home as the weather was mostly lousy over the weekend.
With all of that done…we were up early Monday morning for our 121 mile transit to Thomaston CT…it was freeway almost the entire way…10 miles east before we got on then south, west, and back a bit north before the final 7 miles into our next destination…Branch Brook Campground just outside the city. We quickly got checked in and proceeded to our site 68 in the satellite view section of the campground…there are about 6 sites in here that have any possibility of seeing the birds and we specifically asked for one when Neil made our reservation back before we departed Florida.
While we were setting up…our neighbors discovered a black bear in the trees behind us…it was just a little guy about 75 pounds or so but after he fell out of the tree he was in Neil could never find him on the ground to take a photo. What is strange is that right behind the satellite view sites is a fence to the next property…on the other side of the fence is a little strip of trees maybe 15 or 20 yards deep and 60 yards long…then there’s a huge parking lot and some sort of factory or fabrication business. The next nearest trees of any sort is probably 500 yards from where the little guy was and we tried to figure out how he got there. There’s a state park across the road and 1/4 mile or so down…so we decided that most likely momma bear had stashed him there while she went off to do bear things…and probably came back and got him the next night to take him back to the park…but in any event we haven’t seen or heard from him since.
After our arrival…the first thing on tap for Tuesday morning was laundry as our hamper was getting pretty full…but before I get to that here are a last couple of shots from the Charlemont area.
One more shot of the colors in a tree…we still are looking for decent colors but as days go by we’re getting closer.
Neil built us a campfire on Sunday evening…it finally cleared up a bit and all the weekend campers had departed so we sat outside for an hour and a half turning wood into ashes.
OK…back to the story. We did laundry on Tuesday as it was supposed to rain again…and rain it did. The morning was just a little barely there mist…sorta like those negligees that Neil prefers…and then after that we lazed around in the afternoon before heading out for some barely adequate sushi nearby Monday evening for dinner. We hoped to get home before the rain started in earnest…but alas we failed and it started pouring while we were in the restaurant. We made it home and then for the next couple of hours the weather radio was going off every 10 minutes with thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches, flash flooding warnings…and torrential rain. Not much wind…most of the really bad stuff was either to our north or south and it was all heading east at 40+ knots…but we got a whole bunch of rain. It tapered off around 2100…but then rained again off and on overnight until about 0500 although none of it was as hard as earlier in the evening.
Wednesday dawned clear and a pretty nice looking day…so about 0900 we headed out as planned for our first drive here in northwest CT. I gotta tell ya…the DLETC chose wisely this time…although not at peak there is a whole lot more color in the trees down here than we’ve seen anywhere else so far…the only drawback is that most of the stands of trees are mixed hardwood and evergreen…and the latter obviously don’t change color…so there’s a lot of green mixed in with the reds and yellows.
As we departed the rig for our drive…we noticed that the storm had delivered a sign for us that fall has indeed arrived in the northeast US. This was not staged…that’s where the storm left it in Big Red’s starboard side front door handle.
We headed out from the campground on what Connie termed as the “pre-drive”…the actual drive she was following from Yankee Magazine started 30 or 40 miles away in Granby…and we had to meander through various small towns on the way there. Once we got to Granby we stopped by the garlic farm and picked up some more fresh garlic and corn before getting to our first stop of the day…a mile long loop hike at Enders Falls State Park where we saw some nice waterfalls…they were really rushing due to all the overnight rain in the area so Neil was pretty happy about that.
Here they are heading off on the hike.
There were a bunch of un-named falls on this small river…we went downstream about a half mile before looping back…in the 125 foot elevation drop before we turned around there were at least six different falls plus some other smaller ones that didn’t quite make it to the definition of waterfall.
Looking upward through the trees…Connie had to do something whilst Neil was crawling out on the wet and slippery rocks.
She also found some nice photogenic fungi on a couple of trees…she got one of the waterfalls in the background in the second one.
On arrival back at Li’l Red…this was across the street from the parking lot.
We proceeded onto one of the local reservoirs…never seen a dam with a gatehouse on it.
Connie looking out over the reservoir.
We stopped by the Riverton General Store for lunch…and got two really good home made meatball sandwiches on toasted buns with cheese and red peppers for lunch…then ate them while overlooking this nice set of bonus waterfalls.
Continuing our drive…we spotted a lot more of the colors we’ve been looking for…although still not the wide angle the whole mountainside is red and yellow peak ones yet.
We spotted some turkeys crossing the road…this female was one of a group of about 15.
The road up to the top of Haystack Mountain State Park.
Our last stop on the drive was at Thorncrest Fam & Milk House Chocolates where we sampled some and bought some very nice…albeit very expensive…chocolates. We could have brought home a lot as it was really good…but at $8.45 plus tax for a 4 piece box we resisted the temptation to overspend.
After that we headed to Torrington to visit the Elks Lodge there…there are a total of 3 lodges nearby but this was the only one that provided any useful info on their website regarding hours and facilities…we’ve learned over the years that the lack of into on the website usually means it’s usually just a cheap bar not a very good place to visit…this one owns a 4 story building with each floor being at least 3 times the size of our entire lodge down in North Fort Myers…they have a banquet room and can cater weddings or events up to 200 folks. Bowling alleys, pool tournaments and a huge bar as you can see in the iPhone pano Neil took below. Best of all…they can server up a Dark and Stormy cocktail…which as you know is Gosling’s Dark Spiced Navy Rum and Ginger Beer…the lodge uses actual fermented Ginger Beer instead of the unleaded variety which is just very gingery ginger ale…which while being very good isn’t as good as one where the beer is truth instead of just kidding.
After that we headed home…dinner was grilled green beans, grilled mushrooms and red peppers, and a nice steak with roasted garlic butter on it…Neil added a roll and we had a glass of wine to go along with it.
Connie must have picked up some sort of tummy bug along the way during the day as she was up all night with intestinal and tummy issues…she’s feeling better today but not up to par yet…luckily we had postponed our planned second drive on Thursday until Friday instead as she would not be up for anything today.
Interesting stuff found on the net.
If you get this one…you’re a math nerd.
I can believe this one.
Awkward family photo…borrowed from one of Neil’s internet buddies…Greg White. According to Greg it was a really mild roller coaster.
Obviously spelling…did not make the list.