As we welcome spring here in Litchfield County, we also welcome what comes with spring; Water. Yes, this past week we have seen enough water for all of us to consider building an arc and fill it two by two of just about everything. With the heavy rains, as well as the rapid snow melt, many folks around the county now have unwelcomed water front property. Luckily for me, I haven’t had much in the way of any water issues other than hearing the increased flow of the river that glides its way by house, or I should say now rushes its way past my house as it now resembles the mighty Colorado River with its grand rapids. Forget the skis, it’s time for me to invest in a kayak.
Speaking of kayaks, I knew there was one place in Litchfield County that I absolutely had to check out as it would be a pure kayakers paradise if it were permissible and that place is the Great Falls of Falls Village. As of late, the place has been well above flood stage rising between 8-12 feet. That’s a lot of water, and far more than my Olympic size swimming pool at the health club. I took the short, roughly 30 minute drive from Torrington, to discover it for myself and once I did I instantly found out why they called it the Great Falls. Hello Niagara Falls of Connecticut! Water, water, everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Forget the kayaking, if someone were looking to go kayaking here they might as well kiss themselves goodbye. Seriously. The flow here is so rapid that it is extremely dangerous and you can instantly be carried away by its powerful force if you made even one mishap. While beautiful to look at and observe from afar, I wouldn’t suggest anyone get remotely close to the falls as it gushes downstream and through Falls Village and other Housatonic Valley towns.
Rest assured, I kept my distance. I perched myself at a hiking trail ledge that was fenced in so that you can view the falls safely, though you won’t exactly stay dry. I felt the force of the falls as I also felt like I was riding on the Lady of the Mist at Niagara, though without the rain gear.
This part of the Housatonic is all part of Connecticut Light & Powers hydroelectric plant which is located downstream. Well, CL&P, I sure hope this is enough water to cut my utility bill in half, though somehow I doubt that. The whole state could be under water and my electric bill would still be outrageous, though a guy can certainly dream. As I watched in awe of the powerful falls, something else was lurking in the woods behind me; mountain men. Yes, mountain men. You know, the guys with cigars and Raggie clothing? You would instantly know a mountain man once you saw one. You see, Falls Village, along with much of the northwest corner of our state, is part of Appalachia. In fact, a small portion of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200 mile trail from Georgia to Maine, runs through Falls Village. With that kind of information, it’s easy to see why there would be mountain folks running around, and I’m not offending anyone. Not at all. In fact, these folks are proud of their mountain heritage.
As I stood and watched the falls, as well as the mountain men, I couldn’t help but want to strike up a conversation with them. I know, I’m crazy. I should have learned not to talk to strangers years ago. These folks, however, were incredibly friendly and knew a thing or two, not only about the area, but the falls as well. They too also warned me not to get too close, but also gave me some history of the falls and many floods that it creates in the area. You see, every spring the Great Falls becomes extremely powerful as it is right now. It’s like an annual tradition according to the men. As the snow melts from up north, as well as the surrounding area, it fills the river with an overabundance of water and makes the falls a popular tourist attraction. “It’ll subside soon. It always does.” one of the men said “but you should enjoy it while you could.”.
Well, I came, I saw, and I did enjoy. This was a sight to see. Imagine, our very own miniature version of Niagara Falls right here in northwestern Connecticut. I was impressed. Even though we are facing what seems to be the worst spring flooding we have ever seen as I will soon see fish in my backyard from a rising river, it’s certainly great to discover these great treasures that are all right here in our own backyards.