Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Shepaug Tunnel

I found this place on the geocaching map, considering hiding a cache there, but of course there already was one. The cache's page had some interesting links to the history of the area, so, intrigued, we headed for Washington.

Washington? Washington, CT? I had barely heard of it. I needed a map and directions. It may be the most out-of-the-way place in CT. We took two highways and three secondary routes to get there, up and down hills, passing through cute villages like Bridgewater (CT's only "dry" town) and Roxbury. Washington was just plain nice. Everything seemed nicely laid-out, tastefully cute, with a mild aroma of Old Money. We immediately knew it would be a great day.

We stopped at a very nice cafe for delicious pastry & coffee. The people were impossibly nice.
On to the hike. I need to stop being such a slave to my GPS. Tools are good servants and lousy masters. This area has dirt roads Closed In Winter. We parked at the end of one, and hiked in. GPS showed the most direct route down a trail that skirted the edge of a hill, and was surprisingly icy & precarious. Before long, we realized  that the trail paralleled a normal road, so we scrambled down to it. It was quite icy, but at least it was flat. At a certain points we saw bicyclists and cars on the road, making us think that there must have been an easier way to get here.

The Briskly-flowing Shepaug River.

The rest of the hike was easier. There were two parallel roads, one of which seemed to be the old rail line. What I read of the old railroad seemed quaint. A company with three tired locomotives, that chugged through the hills to small towns. It seems to be in the genre of old ski areas, tiny mills on man-made ponds, etc-the tiny,plucky businesses that can't make it in the modern world. 

We found the geocache easily, within sight of the tunnel. 
 It was incredibly cool, literally & figuratively. Carved out of the rock as if someone had used a giant chisel, and full of ice.
The floor was a solid sheet of ice, as smooth as a skating rink. Ceiling-to-floor frozen waterfalls:
We wanted to walk through, but there was a deep puddle in the middle.

Looking out from the other end. We hiked over the tunnel, and went looking to the footbridge. went quite a bit out of the way, due to my stubborn slavery to my GPS, and walked nearly in a circle, finding the footbridge in the distance.
This was also neat-a two-person- wide suspension bridge, complete with cables, counterweights, the whole thing. We could make it bounce.

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