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The Levees Were Dry

The next ride I went on this year, in early June, was a brief one, but I explored some out-of-the-way spots in the city of Chicopee. I started by riding across the Willimansett Bridge to get into Chicopee, and then rode on the dirt path along the levee that runs essentially from where I-391 crosses the Connecticut River, down to where I-90 crosses the river. I’ve ridden that path a few times in the past, but when I got to the southern end of it, where one cannot pass I-90 (AKA the Mass Pike), I had always ridden back to main roads.

In this case, I went just a little ways from the river, and then followed a side street that does pass under the freeway. It comes to the gate of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, but then turns west, back toward the river. I followed the road that way, and it goes down to a boat ramp where one can launch into the river. Shortly before going down to the river, though, that road crosses the continuing levee. I started riding along this levee, which bends away from the river toward the east, as there is a brook (which seems to be called Crowfoot Brook) that flows into the Chicopee River, just before the Chicopee empties into the Connecticut.

The levee here had a more substantial seeming dirt and gravel path than the levee to the north of I-90, despite not being marked on the map, the way the previous one is. In any case, here are some pictures I took of the brook/inlet, seen from the levee (click to embiggen):

Waterway and trees, seen from atop a flood levee.
Waterway and trees, seen from atop a flood levee.

I rode a little ways further along this levee, until it ended by some railroad tracks, and I had to exit onto a road again. This brought me out onto Route 116 near an interchange with I-391 (and by the studio of local TV channel 22). From here I was able to ride across the Chicopee River into downtown, and then got on the Chicopee Riverwalk. This is a short piece of paved trail that runs on the south side of the Chicopee River. On that pavement, I encountered a small rabbit (a young ‘un, I think), which seemed surprised and confused by something moving as fast as I was.

Once the pavement ends, it turns into a dirt path that continues through the woods, a bit above the river and behind/below a number of businesses. Here I saw another baby rabbit (which scampered into the underbrush as I approached). I followed this path (another one I had not been on) quite a ways up the river, until it ended on a smallish levee by a parking lot. I rode through the lot and emerged on Main St. and then went over to Route 33 to head north. From there, I rode back up toward Holyoke, and crossed the Connecticut on the Willimansett Bridge again.

The next rides were longer ones, occurring in early July. Stay tuned…

Posted by seaking on 09-19-2019 at 11:09 pm
Posted in Biking, Wildlife

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