Winter Hike Black and White

We found a new place in the northeast part of Connecticut to explore by chance. Driving along small local roads has been the source of several great finds. The Joshua land trust is one.

The Joshua’s Trust land trust has over 4,000 acres of protected land in Connecticut. This non-profit organization protects the land, maintains trails for the public, and offers educational outreach programs.  Connecticut has over 130 land trust organizations, 3rd highest in the US.

Path at Joshua Trust
Path at Joshua Trust

Joshua was the son of the famous Mohegan chief Uncas (see James Fennimore Cooper’s book ‘The Last Of The Mohegans’).  Land grants of the early settlers were provided by Uncas and his heirs in this area of Connecticut. The trust was named in honor of Joshua. Attawanhood was his Mohegan name. He died in 1676.

Path at Joshua Trust
Path at Joshua Trust

 

As usual it was cold, deep snow, and this day some wind. Nothing moved around the lake or woods. In the distance a large woodpecker beat on a hollow tree. Absolute quite otherwise.

Black and White seems appropriate here.

 

Connecticut Country Barns

Snow and country barns. What is more New England. This is actually my second series of barn photographs this winter. A ‘Red Barn‘ article was the first.

I have to assume that we should have some sun and warmer weather in the near future. So, here are a few more snowy country barns from around the Connecticut River valley.

Country Barn
Country Barn

 

Connecticut River Railroad Bridge

For some time now I have wanted to get a closer look at the ‘swing’ railroad bridge that crosses the Connecticut river between Middletown and Portland.

The Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge is a swing truss bridge. I looked that up online.

Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge

The bridge is used by the Providence & Worcester Railroad to serve two customers in Portland. Since the bridge is usually left open, it appears to be inactive. However, trains do cross the river carrying paper products and demolition debris.

Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge

I have never seen a train cross this bridge. I think the middle section will swing closed and connect each side of the bridge. It looks rusty, ancient, and generally from another era. The frozen river ice and snow made the bridge even more interesting to me. The colors from the river and snow just push the rust and old wood shades from the bridge structure.

Having no mechanical apptitude at all I find the whole thing fascinating. I have no clue how it works, but there is a small wooden hut attached to one side. I assume someone climbs in there and runs the thing when a train is scheduled. How they get in that little shack is a mystery.

Again, from another era.

A Hole In The River

It only takes a few days for parts of the river to open up after a  deep freeze breaks. One day you can’t see a river at all, the next there are open sections of flowing water.

Almost as soon as the water appears there starts a ‘gathering of the clans’. Some openings will be flocks of geese, others ducks from all over the area.

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Of course the Gulls don’t care who has claimed the water. They just move in.

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These shots were taken two days ago. Once again it’s down below -0 (fahrenheit) so the ice has closed in. But there was a small break for the ‘locals’ to socialize and meet up for the coming spring season.

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Yes, that is the Connecticut river above.  Frozen again. The  old abandon  Connecticut Foundry (click for previous post) silo, in Rocky Hill, can be seen on the far shore. February is almost over. Soon we will have the spring thaw.

All that snow will melt. Ah spring! I can’t wait to see how I make all that mud look pretty in my photographs.

 

Frozen Dawn On The Connecticut River

For photographers dawn and sunset are the ‘golden’ hours, the best lighting of the day. However during the winter dawn also is usually the coldest hours.

I had always believed the rising sun would start to warm the day. I’m baffled because the sun rise always starts a drop in temperature. Not for very long, but it happens, and it’s just wrong.

dawn_frozen_air
Dawn Frozen Air Connecticut Winter

Yesterday, at dawn, any moisture in the air froze. Any exposed skin didn’t fair well either.

As the sun came up over the river the first light cast a blue color on everything. The snow and ice reflected this beautiful blue light.

Dawn On New England Farm
Dawn On New England Farm

Within a short time the light slowly shifted from blue to an incredible honey color.

7 Below Sun Rise Connecticut River
7 Below Sun Rise Connecticut River

The cold and wind finally pushed us to leave but the short time standing on the river bank was a great way to start the day.

 

Winter Day On The Connecticut River

Monday started out with the temperature at -5, very windy, and deep snow due to the 3 major storms New England has just had. In general a day to hide inside, but I filled my pack and went down to the Connecticut river.

After a short 1/4 mile walk up river I spotted a Bald Eagle in a tree
near a small spot of open water. Eagles will seek out any open
areas, not frozen, since ducks and geese will be nearby.

In typical fashion as soon as I had pushed through the snow and was within range of a long distance photo he dropped from the tree and flew over the river.
It was bitter cold so I ended the eagle hunt, headed for home, and
satisfied myself with some small bird activity and warm coffee.  The small birds are not hard to find, but difficult to shot since they’re always in motion.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

The second part of the day was off to hike the hills around Gillette Castle.

The following images were taken from the Castle cat walk over
looking the Connecticut river. It’s frozen solid here as far as you can
see, which is several miles. An eagle came by but he was too fast and low to see until he was past and on the horizon.

(People visit this site from many different places so here is some Gillette Castle info. A subject for another time here.)

On the walk back down the hill we did meet a Red Shoulder Hawk in a cedar thicket. He sat long enough for a few quick shots, then quickly flew off toward the Connecticut river bank below.

Red Shoulder Hawk
Red Shoulder Hawk

The last of our planned stops for the day was the Chester/Hadlyme
ferry landing on the river below Gillette. Connecticut has the 2 oldest ferries in the US. This ferry and the Rocky Hill ferry up river. Several earlier posts on this site were taken at Rocky Hill which I visit ofter.

(These links, Hadlyme Ferry and Rocky Hill Ferry , provide more information)

At the end of the day, heading home from the ferry, I caught a familiar shape far off in the trees as we drove past a bend in the river. We quickly drove down a side road and were greeted by the sight below.

IMG_6084-1A pair of Bald Eagles were hunting from the trees hanging over the river. We were able to photograph them for quite a long time before they flew off to the woods on the far side of the river.

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Bald Eagle Connecticut River
Bald Eagle Connecticut River

Some days the New England winters are not all that bad.

 

TPJ Photography