Monday, November 16, 2015

Went to Wallum

I was looking to paddle a new waterbody yesterday...one that retained much of its natural state and, by virtue of its geography, might provide shelter from yesterday's cool westerly winds.  I found all that and more at the 2 mile long Wallum Lake straddling the Rhode Island/Massachusetts border. 

I launched at the lake's southeast end located in Burrillville, RI which may be considered part of Pascoag (a village within Burrillville).  The launch there is free and only for non-powered boats.  It's located at one of the lake's outlets which contributes the lake's overflow to the Clear River...
 

The outlet structure looks sort of like a lock...
...except it never opens.

Paddled out on to the lake and looked northward...

...before heading across to the sheltered side where an eagle officially greeted me...

The lake has crystal-clear water and rocks of every size and configuration constitute the shoreline...
It's said the Nipmuc people, who once occupied this area, believed all objects contained spiritual characteristics.  The above rock would've been well regarded.

The entire western side of the lake is undeveloped and within the Douglas State Forest...
Deciduous trees far outnumber conifers.

At the northern end (in Massachusetts) facilities including a paved boat ramp are maintained by the Douglas State Forest...

According to the kiosk there, a large ice operation existed there back in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Ice was shipped out via the Providence and Springfield Railroad which extended north from Pascoag to Douglas Junction connecting there with the nearby New York and New England Railroad.  The rails are long gone, but a little to the lake's north the New York and New England's roadbed still passes under Wallum Lake Road in dramatic fashion...

Back in the day, this was the route of the New England Limited which left Boston every day at 3 pm and arrived in New York city by 9 pm.  Because the coaches were white in color and the train traveled through interior New England during hours of darkness it earned the nickname "The Ghost Train".

I next paddled down the lake's east shore past clusters of homes...some in Massachusetts and some in Rhode Island.  However, at the lake's southern end are the expansive buildings and grounds that formerly were the Rhode Island State Hospital for Consumptives (aka tuberculosis)...
Built in 1905 in a very rural setting the 395 acre facility served as a sanatorium for those afflicted with TB.  This link contains an article written by G. Wayne Miller of the Providence Journal back at the time of the facility's centennial.  Miller's article describes the sanatorium and serves to remind us of just how scary and misunderstood tuberculosis once was.  Today the facility is known as the Eleanor Slater Hospital, Zambarano Unit and serves patients with specialized needs unable to be provided in standard hospital settings.

Like the icehouse at the lake's northern end, the hospital was once served by the Providence and Springfield Railroad which ran along the lake's east side.  Patients, visitors, and coal arrived by train.  The small station named Wallum Lake is said to have been the highest (elevation) railroad station in Rhode Island. 

Before leaving the lake I took one last look towards the Massachusetts end from my vantage point in Rhode Island...
The day had warmed nicely.
 
 
 
There was very little trash encountered on this waterbody.  What little I did see was mostly of this nature...

  ...where I stopped along the shore for a lunch break.

The small haul...


Went to Wallum on a hunch and drove home feeling glad I went.


2 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

Hey - you were in my neighborhood – we need to get together sometime.

Trashpaddler said...

Hi Erik, Nice neighborhood that corner of Rhode Island. Agree on getting together. Hopefully rivers will rise after the rains predicted for later this week.