Turner Falls, Flowers and Pot holes

When my friend Nancy , her kids and I went to Magic Wings in Deerfield we came back to RT 2 this way and had seen the falls at Turner Falls. That day they were really flowing. Today I had to make my way over a bridge that was under construction and couldn’t see the falls at all.

When I reached the other side I saw a building marked Great Falls  Discovery Center .

 I found the parking area and headed down in hopes that they could tell me what happened to the falls. On the way I smelled lilacs! At first I didn’t see any lilac bushes so I wondered if it was my imagination. I slowed down as I approached the building and got a whiff again. That’s when I spotted the small white lilac bush. I love lilacs so of course I had to take a picture. I wish I could bottle that fragrance too!

“Time to smell the flowers” over I entered the Great Falls Discovery Center. I was impressed. It was huge and the displays were both educational and entertaining. The Center is run by the National Fish and Wildlife refuge. I was only there  for a few minutes but I wish I would have had more time to explore. The ranger explained that the flow of water over the falls is controlled. If some of the flow is being directed to the hydroelectric plant then the falls themselves will be smaller. When the plant opens the spillway, the flow increases. She told me I could follow the path around the building and across a little bridge  and I would be able to see the falls.

 There is also a canal that runs alongside the river.

 Before I left she also mentioned that they have a fish ladder exhibit that was opening on Sunday. It sounded interesting but since I would be in Arizona I explained that I wouldn’t be able to see it then. I would try to return at a later date.

I followed the path and crossed a foot  bridge over the canal. The path then wound down a little hill. I spotted a tree that a beaver had felled and then I heard the falls.

A young man was standing on  some rocks fishing. He pointed out where the falls were and explained that the water was low right now. He said if we heard a siren we needed to head for high ground in a hurry. The siren means the hydro-electric plant is about to open the spillway.

I watched the falls for a few more minutes and headed back up the path. After all, I still had more stops to make.

Back at the car I realized that the directions to get back to RT 2 that I picked up weren’t correct. I found myself driving around a bit before I got myself back on track. Once back on RT 2 westbound I started looking for the Bridge of Flowers. This was a must see stop for me this trip.

It has been years since I first went to the Bridge of Flowers. I thought it was in North Adams but I was wrong. It’s actually in Shelburn Falls. The Bridge of Flowers is the only one of its kind in the world. Originally built as a trolley bridge around 1908. The bridge crosses the Deerfield River between the towns of Shelburn and Buckland. Around 1928 the trolley was abandoned.

The bridge is a 400 foot, 5 arch concrete span. In 1929 Antoinette & Walter Burnham suggested converting the old trolley bridge into a giant flower bridge. It took about a year before it became a reality. The bridge is planted with over 500 varieties  of flowers, all planted and tended by volunteers. The flowers are chosen to assure that there will be blooms all growing season. The first blooms begin to flower in early spring and last all through late fall.

While I was in Shelburn Falls I figured I might as well take a look at Salmon Falls and the Glacial Pot holes.

 These are natural pot holes that formed over several hundred million years. It was getting late in the afternoon and I sill had the rest of the Mohawk Trail to finish before 6pm arrived so I didn’t have much time to explore. In the “old days” I can remember going right down to the rocks and exploring up close but today I didn’t see any place to safely get down to the pot holes. Still the falls were beautiful and the pot holes clearly visible from a wooden deck.

It was time to move on. The Mohawk Trail winds down as it enters New York and I mean that quite literally. The last bit of the Western section is a series of hairpin  turns and switch back curves.

 The drive is extremely picturesque. From the Elk on the trail 

to The Indian Trading Post

 there was still a lot to do but it was time to wrap up this journey for one day. I made it to my sister’s just in time at 6pm!

Tomorrow is another day and another adventure awaits!

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