Sometimes we will park in the lot in front of the main gate, and head west on the trail along the river, and above Old Mashapaug Road. The trail offers a great view of the river below, and the sound of the water rolling over the rocks is nice to hear. After a bit, we will come to the Ed Calcutt Bridge, a steel bridge that crosses the Quinebaug River. After starring off down the river from the midle of the bridge, we take a short walk over the bridge, and up the grade to River Street, where we turn left and head down the road to Old Mashapaug road. At Old Mashapaug Road we take another left, and follow it along the other side of the river. The view is equally as good from high over the water on the this side as it on the other side. After awhile, the old abandoned road feeds onto the the portion currently maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers along the river, and after short time, we are back at the parking lot.
That walk is just about three miles, and if we are in the mood, we keep going for a lap around the dam.
The Westville Dam area always has a number of walkers, hikers, bicyclists, dog walkers, and folks pushing strollers around the trails. It has picnic tables, and two covered pavilions for large groups that can be reserved for events. The compacted stone dust makes for good walking, and biking.
|The Trolley Trail extension looking up towards the
East Brimfield Dam area from where the trail
used to end..
|Looking toward the old terminus of the trail with the
Quinebaug River on the right.
Yesterdays hike was very different. The old trail has undergone a major face lift in 2011. It was widened, covered with a new layer of stone dust, brush cleared from along its edges, new drainage, and culverts installed, and when Mary and I got to park bench at the river we were amazed to see that the trail had been extended all the way up to the dam!
The extension had been hacked out of the woods, the stumps removed, a new trail bed laid down with drainage, and culverts along its edge. The Brush along the river was cleared away and offered a wonderful view of the rushing water from the dam.
We really were amazed.
We asked him where the trail would go now, would it just stop at the lakes edge, and one would have to walk along the unprotected shoulder of Route 20 to access the Brimfield side. Keith said that that was the big question, and that nobody had had an epiphany as of yet.
I asked if they had considered along side of Route 20 with a separate bike path separated by guardrails from the main road, which I was sure they had, but wanted to know how they felt about it. Keith said they had, but he preferred that the hiking trail be lower than the road way in order to make those on foot, and on bicycle, safer from the traffic on Route 20.
I like that idea.
Now all it takes is money to design and build it that portion of the trail, and also a bridge on the Brimfield side to cross the Quinebaug River like the Ed Calcutt Bridge in the Westville Dam area.
Simple ideas, not so simple in obtaining funding.
In the meantime, take a morning, and check out the new trail, or maybe bring a lunch, and enjoy it along side of the river.
Places like this are special, and meant to be enjoyed by all.
In the meantime, I am sure Keith and Tom will eventually come up with a plan to complete the Sturbridge end of the trail, and a way to fund it. What was considered impossible has been done before, what's one more impossibility to conquer?