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WB4F Ride #4: Canal and Locks in Windsor Locks

Map showing route south from Holyoke, through Springfield, into Enfield, Connecticut, and back north through Windsor Locks, CT, Agawam, MA, etc.

For my fourth ride, I headed south into Connecticut. I had initially been planning a route that was wider east to west than what is seen on the map above (click on image to embiggen), but then I spied a recreation trail on the map that I had not previously been aware of. It’s in Windsor Locks, CT, and I made my route narrower so that it could be longer north to south, to pick up the southern end of the trail.

I started my ride by heading across the Conn. River from Holyoke into Chicopee, then followed route 116 down into Springfield. I turned west off that road at the first opportunity in Springfield, and the street I was on curved south near the river, as I approached that city’s bike trail. Here’s a view of the river from that street, looking north (the bridge is I-91):

River toward left of photo, with grass and a concrete wall in foreground, there is a bridge crossing the river in the distance, plus blue sky with small clouds

Here is the view south (downriver) from the same spot:

River toward right of photo, with grass in foreground, trees on the far bank, plus blue sky with small clouds

Soon after that I got on the trail just south of its northern end. Here’s the view south along the rail, and the river seen from the trail:

Paved trail running off into distance, with grass on either side, trees on right, and some houses and cars on a street to the left
View down a grassy bank of river, with a couple of trees on near side, and lots of trees on far bank

I headed south through Springfield on the trail, and at one point passed a snake that was crossing the trail. I turned around to try and take a picture, but it was pretty quick, and it was into the grass on the other side before I could get my phone ready.

As one gets near downtown, the trail goes up onto a bridge that carries it over some railroad tracks. Here’s that bridge, as one is heading upward, and when at the top:

Looking along bike and pedestrian bridge with a concrete deck and metal frame with chainlink walls
Looking along bike and pedestrian bridge with a concrete deck and metal frame with chainlink walls

While I was at the high point of the bridge, a freight train came along, heading east over the river and then under me.

Looking down through chainlink fence at a train coming off of a bridge, toward the camera
Looking down through chainlink fence at a train coming off of a bridge, passing under the camera
Looking down through chainlink fence at a train heading away from the camera

I continued along the trail until I got to the last point where I could exit (if one goes all the way to the southern end, one has to turn around and come back). I took a few side streets down to Forest Park, and then rode through much of the park, with a quick stop by this pond, where there were ducks:

Big pond with clear water close by, that reflects clouds in the sky, and algae farther away.  THere are trees surrounding the water.
Many ducks floating in water

Near the pond were some smaller bits of water that were full of plants. I’m not sure if these are a type of water lily, but the flowers and leaves are pretty large and interesting:

Large amount of aquatic plants with big green leaves, and some have pink flowers
Large amount of aquatic plants with big green leaves, and some have pink flowers

I exited the park on the western side, onto Route 5, and started to head south, but turned off on a different street, then headed south into the town of Longmeadow on a route that’s less busy than 5. The street I was on eventually became route 192, and headed into Enfield, CT.

I made my way south through Enfield, also working westward. There were some rural areas, but also a lot of residential streets that I rode on, and fortunately many of those roads had wide shoulders or actual bike lanes. I eventually got to CT Route 140 in the town of South Windsor, and I took that road west across the CT River. Here’s a view of the river from the 140 bridge, looking north:

View of river with trees on either side, and reflections of clouds in water.

On the other side, I arrived at the south end of the Windsor Locks Canal Trail. Here’s the trail near that end) looking north:

Paved tral heading into distance, with trees around it

The canal itself is over to the left:

Canal with trees and brush on near and far banks, and a good deal of algae on the water.

I headed north, not seeing other people for a little bit, but then I started to encounter people walking, and a few other cyclists. The path was next to the canal the whole time, and over to the right were a lot of trees, through which one occasionally could see the river:

Area of grass and brush, with the base of an electrical tower on the left side, and in the distance several trees and a bit of water.

At one point, maybe halfway along the trail’s length, it went over a little bridge, and the canal itself did so as well, so that water from other sources could flow out to the river:

Looking along bike trail bridge with wood and metal deck, and chain link fence on either side.
Canal passing through concrete aqueduct.
Water flowing out to river with trees and grass around.

As I headed north, the river got closer to the path, and there were more points where one could look out at the river, like this:

View of river water over some bushes, with trees on either side, and more trees on far bank.

Eventually, I came to the northern end of the canal, where it begins with water flowing in from the river. At this point, the trail turns left to cross the source of the canal and continue along the riverside, but there is a platform at the turn with a nice view of the river:

Looking upriver, with some sandbars visible, and a bridge crossing the river.

The bridge seen there is Route 190. People seem to be find of putting padlocks on the fence at this place:

Here is a view looking south along the canal:

Looking along canal with algae on surface and trees lining each side.  Clouds in sky.

The trail goes a short distance more, into a small park with a parking lot for people to access the trail. I followed the trail under Route 190, where it heads west and stops at Route 159. I then took that road north, heading through the town of Suffield, and back toward Massachusetts. I entered Mass in the town of Agawam, and was welcomed there by this sign at Six Flags New England:

Sign on pedestrian bridge over road that reads "Welcome to Agawam Massachusetts"

I continued on this road almost all the way through town, and then went on a couple of other streets to end up in the city of West Springfield. I made my way north and east there, until I was back at Route 5, but then got on the city’s short riverside trail. I went to its north end, and then rode along 5 the rest of the way into Holyoke. I got home about 5 hours after I started, and did a total distance of 50.64 miles. Total for the month is now about 208 miles.

Odometer showing mileage of fifty point six four

Posted by seaking on 09-14-2020 at 11:09 pm
Posted in Biking

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