|Marjorie on the first bridge.|
On this warm spring day, I found Marjorie suited up in her gel packs, which keep her cool on days that threaten to get too warm. With her national parks volunteer hat and walking attire, she was the perfect ambassador to greet me to her part of our state. As we walked she pointed out various highlights along the trail - nearby rapids, trailside playground, and flowering red maple trees. How wonderful to be out on the trail in good company and to learn more about the area from a local person who loves it well!
|Delightful river views along the way.|
The ten foot wide trail had steady but light use on a Friday. Though most people weren't wearing masks, it was easy to keep socially distant. I sped along and thoroughly enjoyed my first bike ride of the year, as well as the "Triad" Marjorie had alerted me to, an unusual configuration of 3 stacked railroad crossings at a point along the river. Though the highest one was never completed, the abutments are in place and it is easy to visualize the full scene above the water. She informed me that this is a very rare occurrence.
|The Triad area.|
Nearby, at the end of County Street, is Blackstone Gorge, with a smaller dirt lot on a hillside that holds about ten cars (also no bathrooms). The access road to the river canoe launch is blocked by a gate, but can be walked around. There is a small day use area next to the river which is nice for a picnic lunch and views of a man-made waterfall (dam), though you may have to lay out a blanket or sit on a rock if picnic table or benches are occupied.
|Blackstone Gorge day use area.|
The closer to the river, the rockier the trails - definitely not accessible for wheelchairs. It is a fun explore for families and sure-footed folks, and if you can follow the river edge you'll come to some intriguing spots with shallow and cascading water before the trail climbs to a highpoint overlook. Visiting here when the leaves are not fully out will increase your views of the surrounding landscape.
|Rocky trail passage near the river.|
|View overlooking the gorge.|
DCR (Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation) advocates for people to stay close to home during the pandemic and visit parks within walking distance or a short drive. If you plan to venture further afield, as well as on any outing, please protect yourself and others. In addition to following safe practices outlined by the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please be sure to follow these additional guidelines for safe visiting:
- Minimize outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19;
- Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people;
- Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals;
- Administer healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds;
- Participate in only non-contact recreational activities;
- Leave a park or area should large gatherings begin to build; and,
- Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population