With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, there’s no better time for exploring the outdoors and connecting with nature — especially when you want to go chasing waterfalls.
With this thought in mind, Connecting Point‘s Brian Sullivan ventured out to the northern Berkshires to get a glimpse of Tannery Falls in all its springtime glory. His journey took him on some unexpected twists and turns through the Savoy Mountain State Forest, but he somehow found his way out to bring us this story.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, there’s no better time for exploring the outdoors and connecting with nature, especially when you want to go chasing waterfalls.
With this thought in mind, Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan ventured out to the northern Berkshires to get a glimpse of Tannery Falls in all of its springtime glory. His journey took him on some unexpected twists and turns through the Savoy Mountain State Forest, but somehow he found his way out to bring us this story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: The ironic humor, even if unintended, of one now entering sign on the Mohawk Trail, is never lost on me. The location where the scenery couldn’t be any more the antithesis of that found in the state of Florida, is actually a real turning point when heading west on the trail.
Everything that looked like mountains in the distance earlier in the drive has now become the surroundings. Roadside terrain takes on a new ruggedness, and the weather can change on a dime, like the snow that we had when we drove through on Earth Day in late April. Here, it’s a place where the Cold River hugs the town line of Savoy and Florida, with contributions from Hillside Falls in Black Brook.
But, in all of my westbound travels out this way, I had never taken the hard left onto Black Brook Road, until today.
We were heading into the hills of Savoy, in search of the five-star rated cascades known as Tannery Falls. Getting there…that may be a bit of an adventure.
For me, these journeys can be a way of sort of making up for lost time. Back when I was in school, I never made it out to places like this because I was too busy doing college things. Now, all these years later, I get to visit some of the most exquisite spots in nature and it falls under the heading of work.
First order of business: make sure the shoelaces are tight and not dangling before venturing out into potentially muddy terrain.
The trail starts off with a pretty wide berth, which is a nice touch for hikers who may feel a little claustrophobic under the tree line. But it only stays this way for about a third of the trek.
We were traveling on what is known as the CCC trail, named for the Civilian Conservation Corps who created it back in the 1930s. This mile long path is kind of a roundabout way of getting to the actual falls, but there’s plenty of scenery to take in. And not only that, but being in the great outdoors can be one way to get a mental health checkup.
Research into what’s being called eco-therapy has shown that doing activities outdoors in nature can help with mild to moderate depression. Living in the city, I can be prone to feelings of heightened anxiety myself. But I gain a new perspective when I look down at puddles like these and see a whole other world teeming with life, literally under my feet.
A couple of things to keep in mind when taking the CCC trail to the falls, the starting point is essentially the summit. So, the way there is down. It’s like hiking a mountain in reverse.
Secondly, this is the Savoy Mountain State Forest, not just some backyard woods. It’s pretty easy to get turned upside down here. So, having food, water, a compass, and a memory for landmarks is recommended.
Third, this trail only leads to the road that the falls are on. The parking area is still about a quarter mile away from here. So for those who just want to get there, Tannery Road is less than a mile of Black Brook Road from where we started on the CCC trail.
From here, it’s onward and downward. From the parking area, there’s no time wasted on delivering the audio-visual experience. The water flowing in from Ross Brook on one side and Parker Brook on the other,that’s a nice surround sound element.
Anyone on the Parker Brook path, not distracted by the sights and sounds of the rushing rapids, may notice what appears to be some kind of foundation. This is all that remains of the tannery that once stood here over a century ago.
But just like the waterfalls that were chasing, this adventure continues on a downward trajectory. The walkway along Ross Brook is very well kept, and the stairs leading to the base of the falls are user-friendly so long as the user takes advantage of the handrail.
Now on to the fireworks. Taking right off the stairs, we can see the 60 foot angular drop of Parker Brook Falls as it twists and turns through the narrow gorge of moss covered stone.
If this were the Fourth of July, though, these falls would be the buildup to the grand finale.
This, in all of its 80 feet of cascading waterfall glory, is Tannery Falls with nearly half of the upper falls being a sheet of whitewater that skates over flat bay stone. The lower half is a bit more of a bumpy ride, bouncing over countless rock formations before eventually collecting in this pool at the base.
It’s been said that to everything there is a season, and such as the case with waterfalls. That season is springtime. And having seen it myself up close and personal, I too would give it the five star review that so many before me have,
But while I was trudging through the woods, nearly getting myself lost on more than one occasion, one phrase kept running through my mind: “It’s not the destination is the journey.” And now that I’ve made it here, I say, who says that journey ever has to end?