I wonder if someone broke in. This is behind a building that houses a still-going business concern, surrounded by empty or abandoned similar buildings. I'm sure there was a lock and chain of about the same vintage as the fence and gate before. Not so heavy duty, though.
Actually, the rain had stopped but the stormy light and soaked colors made everything seem quite magical in the deep forest. All the land in the Steep Rock Preserves is steeply furrowed, carved by the ice age glaciers. Here the camera is looking down a steep ravine and across to the opposite hill, while an even higher ridge behind the camera deepens the cloudy skylight and makes it more directional.
About an hour and a half later and miles back toward the Hidden Valley main entrance, the clouds were breaking and reforming, changing the light quality constantly. This is looking down the ridge on the east side of the Shepaug River, and across to the steep ridge to the west.
This is more or less where the mist was rising from in yesterday's shot from The Lookout. Overnight and morning air temperature was much colder than the water temp. While there's a lot of autumn color still in the woods the season has been subdued rather than spectacular. That doesn't necessarily make for less interesting pictures.
The old railroad bed and the tunnel cut through the rock ledge, in the original section of Steep Rock Preserve. The train roughly followed the Shepaug River. The tunnel curves just enough that you can't see the light at the other end until you've walked partway in.
About one o'clock this afternoon, deep into the hiking trails at the Hidden Valley section of Steep Rock Preserve. There was a hard freeze overnight and a cloudy day with temperature in the 40s°F gave a magical, glowing light for the whole three hours I wandered around the trails.
Steep Rock Preserve, Lake Waramaug Pinnacle, earlier today. All the way along the approximately one hour hike up to the top, I kept looking up through the forest and hoping the sky wasn't going to go to clear. In the end, it put on a nice show.
We went to New Milford yesterday evening to see a gallery opening.
This is the view in the parking lot when we got there.
The artist is extraordinarily versatile, showing work that is wildly divergent, but all done in the last eight months.
The view from the parking lot also kept being cool.
Then there is the show. Which is fascinating. Bettina has liked Chris's work since she first encountered it, but this show, all from the past eight months, is kind of radical. He decided to do whatever he wanted, at the moment. His background is commercial illustration, so he can do anything he wants (commercial artists are, ahem, in general, more skilled than MFA graduates) and I found myself delighted to find pictures that I loved, others that I admired, and others where I thought, well, OK, if you want to do that. Every one of them was engaging though.
When you've reached the bald at the top of Steep Rock's Lake Waramaug Pinnacle, after a demanding 1.6 mile climb or a more demanding 1.2 mile route, what to do next? Perhaps sit and take in the view, or perhaps get out your phone and text all your friends about it.
One of the things I find interesting about Steep Rock Preserve is that it is not at all "wilderness." It's a preserve, with a great deal of human intervention required to maintain it, but not with the goal of turning it into a groomed parkland. It's a balancing act that requires a board of directors and executive director, consultants in a wide variety of ecological specialties, and lots of work by crew and volunteers.
All of southern New England has been lumbered off twice since the Colonial era. Pictures from the late 19th century show the hills and valleys of Washington, CT, completely clearcut except for lines of trees left as windbreaks or scattered specimens left to provide shade near buildings. These two old trees in the lower section of Steep Rock Preserve are about as big as you find in the third-growth woods here.