Sunday, September 30, 2012

Paddling Alongside the Nipmuck Trail

Breakneck Pond first caught my eye while scanning a map and noting there were no roads leading to it.  Subsequently I learned it was located in the least populated town in Connecticut and within the combined 9,000 acres of Bigelow Hollow State Park/Nipmuck State Forest, and that the pond's northern end is the terminus of the Nipmuck Trail.  So while I was already there mentally, there remained the matter of physically transporting my boat and myself to the water's edge.  That required parking my vehicle near the northern end of Bigelow Pond and wheeling my boat for just a little over a mile along the "no motorized vehicle" access road...

 The scenery at this spot along the route was worth stopping to admire...
 
 
After launching into the shallows at the pond's southern end and passing two small islands, the narrow pond stretched out to the north looking much like a river...
 
 
With no nearby roads, houses, or businesses, things were extremely peaceful on this pond.  The only flowers still blooming were these...
 
 
Possibly Daisy Fleabane?
 
Some nice color was provided by this swamp maple...
 
 
After paddling the pond's 1.5 mile length I approached the north end...
 
 
I located the stone and earthen dam that holds back and reroutes Breakneck Brook...
 
 
The dam appears to be creating about a 4 foot difference in water levels.  It leaves me wondering why someone did all this work so long ago.  Was there a mill nearby?  If so, I didn't see any evidence of it.  The brook now exits the pond about 50 yards to the west of the dam...
 
 
Near the brook was this strange looking fungi...
 
 
I'd never seen one of these before.
 
Because the very northern tip of the pond is in Massachusetts it made a nice spot to enjoy an early lunch and visit the official boundary marker...
 
 
 
As I began my trip back the skies began to brighten a bit...
 
 
Wildlife seen were Canada geese, a belted kingfisher, a blue heron, and near the pond's southern end this osprey...
 
 
I found Breakneck Pond to be both beautiful and remote.   Visitors can enjoy hiking, paddling, or camping (by reservation only).  The pond is also said to offer good fishing.  During my visit, I saw only 2 pairs of hikers and no other boaters.  Because of the pond's remoteness I didn't expect to encounter much trash.  I was wrong and instead encountered 3 floating mylar balloons, a plastic bag, several beer, soda, water, and energy drink containers.  The worst of the trash was at the pond's Massachusetts end where atv riding folks have been accessing the area. 
On my hike into the pond, I noticed an abandoned wheelbarrow sans wheels laying in the woods.  On my return trip, I found that someone had retrieved it and placed it alongside the trail.  It was bungeed to my boat and once back at the parking area, it cradled the day's haul...
 
 
There were 22 recyclable containers (possibly all redeemable in CT.) and 16 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as 3 balloons, 4 bait tubs, 4 plastic bags, and the aforementioned Bud Light wheelbarrow (minus wheels).  YTD = 5730
 
Happily there were no broken necks to report.
















3 comments:

PenobscotPaddles said...

A two mile walk for a three mile paddle! True dedication! Good job getting all the trash out.

PenobscotPaddles said...

I think the plant may be a rough leaved aster. I use The Plants of Acadia National Park by Glen Mittelhauser, Linda L. Gregory, Sally Rooney and Jill Weber. I started by borrowing the book from my local library, but eventually bought my own copy.

Suasco Al said...

PenobscotPaddles, Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. It sure does look like both the leaf and flower of that plant. The Connecticut Botanical Society (www.ct-botanical-society.org) Website states "Rough-leaved aster is endangered in Connecticut." If it is that plant, it would make sense for it to survive in such a location as Breakneck Pond.