A Short Hike Shows Deep Scars
All around the Upper Valley there seem to be "Road Closed" signs in some of the most unlikely places. Today, I found them at either end of the road that leads into the Union Village Dam Recreation Area in Thetford, VT. It's a federally-owned parcel of land run by the Army Corps of Engineers. One would think that, of any area around, it would be protected from flooding due to its stated goal of holding back water, yet, I discovered some post-storm damage today that left me in awe.
Raspberries aplenty. Nature always prevails.
The power of water is no trifling thing. Enter my car at Buzzle Bridge Road, just off VT 113 in Thetford Center where a bright orange "Road Closed" sign greeted me, my wife, and our two dogs looking for a place to walk. We parked nearby and walked into the Union Village Dam area. What we found was a stunning display of Mother Nature's tendency to do its own thing whenever and wherever it chooses.
This area is a special place. We've hiked, XC-skied, and mountain biked it many times with our children and friends. We've fished it, and used its great swimming holes for all kinds of enjoyment. Our daughter even learned to ride a bike here many years back. And it has a Mystery Trail and Forest Management Trail. If you've not found this hidden gem of a place in the Upper Valley, it's high time to visit. Today, however, it spoke volumes about just how fragile is our environment we take so much for granted.
Here's a look at the photos I took on our walk today:
The first sign of trouble at the road's now revised end point. A slurry of gravel and rock, and an exposed culvert.
A look down what was once a solid dirt road that carried cars, cyclists, and walkers alike in the Union Village Dam area. Now it's impassable. Even our dogs were perplexed!
One bridge that made it. Snowmobilers rejoice! This is on the path for snow machine enthusiasts who ride through the dam area in the winter months. Just 20 feet from the washed out culvert it somehow survived the water forces cascading down from Thetford Hill.
Above and Below: At the other end of the dam area in Union Village, more washouts and road closures.
The dam itself rises high above the surrounding landscape. A survivor of the stormy weather, while living up to its name—at least this time around.
A view west from the top of the dam. It looks like a moonscape from the flooding. The road you see was under water. It's the other end of the same road that's shown in the photos above.
Despite what we witnessed today, it was apparent that the man-made was what suffers most in a storm. It is Nature itself that prevails. The raspberry bushes sprouted their bright red fruit wherever I looked, and Black-eyed Susan's peeked up as if beseeching us to pluck them and take them home for a countertop bouquet. If only the calm after the storm had somehow been able to quell the forces of water rushing down off Thetford Hill a few days ago, none of this would have happened. But, such is our world and the land we inhabit. My respect for water's power has deepened immeasurably.
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Zippy. Found at last!
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