Hello friends Seth here! So sorry that it has been this long since our last blog but I hope you enjoy reading about yet another great local gem!
I had the pleasure of exploring Chapel Brook which is part of the Trustees land conservation group located in Ashfield, MA. It's about a 40 min drive from Chicopee, MA through some very beautiful windy roads through Williamsburg just before getting to the parking lot in Ashfield.
From the second I shut my car door all I could hear was water, birds, and crickets. I was immediately overcome by a feeling of solitude. The air was a bit crisp and humid, there was a little haze with the sun beaming down through the trees landing on the forest floor. I had a smile ear to ear as I started up the trail.
This place is a great place to come and do some multi sport recreation as it offers folks a place to go rock climbing, some beginner/intermediate hiking, mountain biking, and of course some swimming because of the brook and falls which I'll talk about soon but be sure to be very respectful when swimming because that activity isn't the most celebrated here and it only takes one person to ruin for the rest so please swim with awareness.
Up the trail I walk. I wanted to go to the climbing area first and check out the top of Pony Mountain where I hear is a nesting spot for ravens so sorry no climbing is permitted until July. It will be a beautiful spot to climb once our impact on the ravens is cleared. In the meantime feel free to hike to the top of Pony Mountain and scout for climbing routes as it also provides a stunning view.
From the top here I hiked back down to the parking lot and walked across the street to the falls. Walking down this trail you go right by 3 waterfalls with some pretty deep pools at the base of each, which after hiking the climbing area and to the top of Pony Mountain provides
just the right amount of relief while giving you a great shoulder massage. While each of these falls are stunning individually I was very fond of the 3rd one I came to because the water cascaded of a bowl of mossy rocks while on the banks where elder pine trees with a very pillowy forest floor.
From here I continued on down the trail which was like walking through time because even if you don't know much about an area you can feel and see how old it is sometimes.
I saw a lot of salamanders a long the way, crossed a pretty cool and elaborate (for a walking trail) bridge until I got to this little pebble.
I thought the trail at this point wrapped around this "pebble" and continues on in the back but after walking that way for a bit I decided in my head that "this isn't a trail" and turned around. Turns out the trail kind of horse shoes and disappears through some overgrowth so it took kind of a keen eye to navigate that.
Now that I was back on trail it didn't take long before I came to a stunning meadow with just a shocking view and placed just so gently underneath an old maple tree was the most welcoming bench. I laid across this bench to take it all in. The air smelled like sweet grass and wildflowers from the meadow, I could hear the microcosm of insects intersecting this aromatic sense and with a slight breeze I then took a nap.
I was startled awake by a humming bird hovering inches from my nose the red and green gleaming from the sunlight on its neck told me it was a ruby throated. The most common to our region. Now that I was up I took another moment to soak in the view which by then the meadow was teaming with butterflies. I said my thanks and made my way back the 1 1/2 miles to my car.
On my way back from any adventure I always pick up whatever trash I see along the way but this trail is very well maintained and seemingly respected so I didn't actually collect that much.
Chapel Brook is a really special place and I look forward to sharing it with as many people as possible. You can always self discover all the Trustees locations by going to the trustees.org. Thank for taking the time to read this and I hope to have another blog to you sooner than later. Until then happy trails and Cheers!!