Indeed there is, quite a few actually, but one stands out in particular given it’s importance and linkages to the Quabbin, the Wachusett Reservoir, also under the stewardship of the Massachusetts Division of Conservation and Recreation. The Wachusett which sits in and around the towns of Boylston, West Boylston, Sterling and Clinton, was created around the turn of the last century, again to supply water to Metropolitan Boston. In this case, only parts of the towns were taken, though a significant number of residents and businesses were displaced. Interestingly, some of the same individuals who built the Wachusett, at one time considered an absolute marvel of engineering, also were involved in the building of the Quabbin. For me, the Wachusett is beautiful, but not so much a wilderness as the Quabbin. It’s closer to Boston and to major population centers and it’s also smaller, though still impressive in scope. The water from the Quabbin actually runs to the Wauchusett on it’s way to Boston.
Like the Quabbin there are many sites to see and many routes in. One of my favorites is the portion of the Central Massachusetts Rail Trail that runs through West Boylston, Holden and beyond. The Trail basically follows parts of the routes of the old Mass Central Rail road and it owes its existence to a collaboration between local and state governments and the citizen’s group, Wachusett Greenways.
The Trail runs in places along the Quinapoxet River, which is one source of the water in the Wachusett. I should add that it’s a very level hike, good for biking, kids and you can even bring dogs on the trail, though not down to the water. The River was quite active for our visit, owing to all the rains. (Click on the images for a better view.)
You have to walk down the embankment to get to the river, though the trail by itself is pleasant enough if that’s not your inclination. There are flowers, some wild, some not, along the way.
A short way in, and down, you come to a nice set of falls near one of the water stations. This one is man-made.
Fortunately, the designers saw fit to include a fish ladder/spillway in the design.
As with so many of these locations though, the water itself is captivating.
Water like this though calls for a variety of treatments. The details can be as compelling as the larger establishing shots.
In addition to detail shots, the moving water and it’s sounds suggests a playful and abstract approach as well. Here’s what is known as a swipe, courtesy the teaching of Tony Sweet. (These are reflections found in a pond just off the trail. In order to create this effect you need to have a shutter speed of around 1/2 second. You are moving the camera upward when you hit the shutter. You’ll have to do it quite a few times in most cases before you get anything interesting.)
So once again we find that our need for water has created significant social upheaval and at the same time leaves us with so much, that we rarely notice.