By the middle of March, the weather was still following the pattern of oscillating between cold days followed by warmer days near 50 degrees. Perhaps, due to the strange climate variations there were various illness going around as well. Finally, on one fine sunny morning, we felt well enough to hit the trail but decided on something reasonably flat. Tanglewood seemed to fit the bill.
The trails at Tanglewood can be wet, and with the freeze and thaw of the last few days we were not sure what we would find. After a quick study of the trail map, we thought a short hike to the Ducktrap River might be nice. Our plan was to hike the east side of the Forest Loop Trail, turn down the River Trail and continue on the Turner Falls Trail for a bit.
As predicted the trail was wet, but since the morning had been cold we made our way through partially frozen muck which crunched under our feet. In some spots, however, a stream dominated the trail and we had to carefully work our way around these large areas of water. I noticed that there was a fine red dust resting on top of the water; leaf, acorn or pine cone debris I could not tell. Through all of this, I was still able to take some time to observe an interesting tree formation along the way.
Soon we turned on to the River Trail, which had a little more of an incline and as a result was drier for a short period of time. Making our way down the hill, I noticed that the pine woods on either side of the trail were relatively new growth. Reaching the bottom of the hill, we found ourselves in a more mature strand of trees and stopped to take in the mystical beauty of the area before continuing on our journey.
Before reaching the end of the River Trail, my hiking partner was reaching the point of needing to turn back due to his recent illness. The sound of running water not far off convinced us to walk as far as the river, but leave walking along the Turner Falls Trail for another day. Since we were in an area of woods consisting of packed pine needles underfoot and no undergrowth, we made a straight line for the water. Our course took us to the edge of the river, directly in front of the rapids.
Somehow, I lost the adjectives to describe the beauty of the river. I do know that the sound of the water rushing over the rocks, the small eddy creating a hole in the water before me and the sun reflecting through the pines filled my senses and cast a spell over me. I let the peace flow over me for a few minutes before strolling a few more feet down the river. Turning away from this scene, I even found beauty in the pattern created by a hole in a nearby tree. Close by, there was enchantment to be found in the twisted, knobby, moss covered bark of an old tree; something that might be found in any number of fantasy stories. Although our outing was short, we still found the journey rewarding.