Since I was already in the neighborhood, I stopped by Riverbend Farm for a walk along the tow path. Foliage is still a “thing” this week, and even last weekend’s rain storm was not able to whip all the leaves off the trees.
In fact, as I walked, maple leaves along the tow path are still green! This fall feels like the most extended foliage season I can recall.
It has also been a wet fall. Kathryn Parent, on staff at Riverbend Farm, was able to join me as we walked up to the stone arch bridge at the north end of the tow path. There we saw water pouring over the dam, a strange sight in the fall.
In other years, fall has been dry, and no water flows over the dam.
In fact, other than the colorful display of leaves, I might have thought the river was at spring flood stage, rather than heading into late fall, with winter not far behind.
We continued south on the tow path till we came to a spot where the Blackstone River was in sight of the tow path. As we turned, I saw other views of the canal and tow path, and the light felt different as we traced our steps back to the visitor center. Kathryn and I laughed at how different the same trail looks, by the simple act of retracing our steps.
“Funny, so often people seem so disappointed when our walks don’t offer a loop trail,” Kathryn recalled. “But you see things so differently just by going back the same way you came.”
As we walked, we encountered a loose dog, not on a leash.
Kathryn stood in front of me, ready to fend off the dog if he was inclined to jump. It takes very little to tip me over these days, and she did her best to keep some distance between me and the strange dog. Soon the dog’s owner came along with leash in hand. I explained that I will tip over if jumped on by dogs of any bulk. (I can usually manage with dogs that reach only to me knees 🙂 )The woman immediately apologized, leashed her dog, then asked about hunting. We assured her there were hunters around–pheasants had just been released in the area. “Oh, I’m from Ottawa, we don’t allow hunting in any state parks,” she explained.
We urged her to stay on the tow path, and get some blaze orange. It’s the season. Be careful out there!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.