Author Topic: Western Massachusetts again  (Read 586 times)

John P

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Western Massachusetts again
« on: July 26, 2020, 04:54:50 AM »
The previous trip was somewhat in the way of exploration, and this was a repeat. I had persuaded 4 friends to sign up, but there was a dubious weather forecast and it ended up as just Dan and me, and I was the only one who did it as an overnight. But Dan was very impressed with our first stop, a swimmin' hole with bootleg camping alongside (not as trashy as these places sometimes are) and a bonus railroad passing by. I discovered that place back in 1973, on a weekend just a few weeks after starting my first job. These places are all on or near the Westfield River, in "eastern western Massachusetts". We had a most excellent time.



The bug-eyed monster is my little tent, which I left without its flysheet as the weather was so pleasant. This place was a discovery from my previous trip, a “must camp” spot!

Dinner by the river, in front of a nice swimmin’ hole.

Sunset on the river bank.

By the campfire, with the camera set to flash.

Same again, but just taken by firelight.

Next day, I met Dan and we visited another swimmin’ hole.

Same person and place. Then we decided to hike down a hillside in search of waterfalls.

First we encountered this ruin. Dan’s best guess was a 1960s Ford Bronco.

We did find the waterfalls…

...but the amount of water was very small.

A dedicated skinny-dipper will make the best of any location!

We decided, after having come down so far, that we deserved a swim. So we continued to the river, a descent of 850 feet total.

Per ardua, ad aqua.


We thought it was worth it!

Next stop was the disused reservoir, with an old mill site nearby.

A swim here washed off the sweat from the 850 foot climb we’d just done.

I’m a fun guy too!

Now for some history—the Arches, built in the 1830s.

Certainly the engineering is interesting.

But also, there are several lovely swimmin’ holes here.

Also a small waterfall flowing in.

Last sip before we hit the road.

It is a somewhat vertical road.

Dan salutes CSX Transportation!

And a final salute above the pool before we walked out in a warm rain. And then home.
                  
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 04:57:20 PM by John P »

nuduke

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Re: Western Massachusetts again
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 05:24:43 PM »
What was the temperature?  Seems, from your ability to be naked throughout, that it was nice and warm, but cloudy.
John

jbeegoode

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Re: Western Massachusetts again
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 12:27:05 AM »
Yum! I simply must get back east, again.

I could smell that forest. I couldn't remember the name, but it brought to mind a tree with nuts that I haven't smelled in decades.

I could smell and feel the texture of the rocks, from memories of childhood in Virginia.
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.

John P

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Re: Western Massachusetts again
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 12:06:33 AM »
Well sure, JBG, come and visit. We'll show you a good time!

freewalkerma

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Re: Western Massachusetts again
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 02:00:42 AM »
Thanks John for posting your photo essay.   Dan here.    I'm glad that we persevered through the day despite the tentative weather at dawn.    To answer your question Nuduke, the temps ranged from the mid seventies when John and I met in the morning to topping out in the low nineties (F) during the afternoon.   Fortunately, with some luck and discretion, one can remain nude almost continually on some of our trails in this part of Massachusetts, so inappropriate clothing was not necessary for much of our day.     

What is missed through the above thread, is that I was even more impressed by the later sites that we enjoyed through our day together.    That final swim beneath the old keystone arch railroad bridge and the nude hike back out to our cars was wonderful.    Though I must add that an equal high point to the day for me was our totally nude hike to Shatterack falls and beyond.     As John has noted,  that the hike took us over a hilltop in a Massachusetts wildlife management area and down to the falls.     Since the falls were representative of the season, thus underwhelming, we decided to hike another mile and a half downhill to the Westfield river for our second swim of the day which was well worth our effort.    When one hikes down hill for two miles or so for the prize, enjoying every minute nude, there is a dark troubling feeling lurking in the recesses of the mind about what is to come.    If one cherishes a good cardio workout, our hike two miles, 850ft rise, straight uphill back to our cars was equally rewarding.    About four miles total round trip, perhaps a bit more, several hours, and not a soul to be seen, nor a scrap of rag needed.   

John recommended that we take our lunch upon the banks of the old decommissioned Westfield reservoir along with another obligatory skinny dip, or course.    This site holds some promise as a tenting area for our group in that it is very scenic.    This was as noted, a recognizance mission for our nude hiking group but also passed as a convenient excuse for a bonus nude hiking day.    I was particularly taken by the serene silence of the spot which lasted a good half hour or more before a couple of small groups of youths arrived in the distance.     There are some small suitable flat spots for tents upon the sloping hillside overlooking the lake along with a nice fire pit.    Our only concern is that though seemingly not heavily used by the picnic and dog-walking crowd, the preserve is said to be known to the mountain bike and quad bike enthusiasts for its trails.        The few folks that came in while we were there remained in the distance and were not particularly noisy, and no machines. Their presence did not bother us per say, though we did reach for our cover once for a moment.     However the trails are in good shape, not shredded to bits, so it would seem that overall usage for any form of diversion remains low to moderate.       

Later in the day at the trailhead for the KAB recreational area (Keystone Arch Bridge), we were greeted by the sight of numerous parked cars, on a Wednesday!    We had to park in the lower overflow lot.     So this being Massachusetts, we proceeded initially with some minimal but legally mandated gesture to the notion of clothing.     As it turned out, we only encountered one couple walking the return direction, then another further down the trail.    One solitary hiker was following us inbound for a while before turning around.    Our surprise was arriving after two miles of pleasant walking, to the iconic old railroad arch and discovering that no one was there.    Where did the crowds go?    We could have done the walk in nude, but better safe than sorry.     Of course, we claimed our  prize, occupied the site and completed our day in the best of skinny dipping and nude walking tradition as John has described with his photos above.   We only encountered rain right at the end of the day on that final walk back along the KAB.    Even then it may have cleared stragglers off this public trail so we could walk along it nude.    Many thanks again John.

Freewalkerma. 

PS Jbee, as soon as the COVID19 travel restrictions from afar are lifted in New England, you really should consider coming east and joining us, perhaps next summer.    I would enjoy meeting and sharing with you face to face after all of these years.   Between all of us here, I'm certain that lodging hospitality for you can be arranged.

jbeegoode

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Re: Western Massachusetts again
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2020, 12:10:48 AM »
Yea, Arizonans are being turned away at the New England border patrol, or grabbed up off the street and quarantined! Probably a good idea to wait!


Your offer is gracious. I have been hankering to revisit old friends and hike eastern trails for a few years, now. An epic nude road trip. I have been out west for decades. Imagine the astounding way that the green and water would effect me.

DF is originally from around Buffalo. Class reunions, the Rainbow Gathering may be back east next year, a string of dear ones between here and there...yup, could happen. Yup, want it to happen. DF may likely be retired then and so...yup, I'd love to look you up and visit those woods. Yup, eastern NAturists GAtherings....

Just read some H.D. Thoreau again. I'm compelled to that pond in your backyard, too.
Thank-you,
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.