My Special Place – The Brook at GMT

Well this marks my third visit to the Gambles Mill Corridor. The bell tower rang in the distance as I walked down the path to my special place. I thought I was going to take a seat at the well I found on my first journey into the Gambles Mill woods. However, I decided to explore a little more and discovered the stream fed into a brook 20 feet from the well. It was about 8 to 10 feet wide and its frigid waters moved much slower than the stream that fed it. I took my seat upon a small sand bar and waited for something to happen. Trucks noisily hummed and revved from the nearby physical plant. All I could I think about was how annoying the noisy trucks were and then suddenly, silence. Listening closely, I heard birdcalls and leaves rustling in the breeze. I could think again.

Then I noticed right in front of me a gyre of foam swirled in the middle of the brook. I sat there mesmerized for a long while and just took in the area. The foam was tan and was formed by decomposition of the leaf litter by the growths that blanketed the bottom of the brook. The foam was blocked from going down stream by a small log that crossed the river. Unfortunately, it was way to small for me to cross the brook. I wanted to get a closer look at a cooler that lay on the other side of the bank. It was high above the water level and planted firmly in the sand. I wonder if someone put it there or did the river deposit it there during a flood. I also noticed leaves slowly floating downstream and how they covered almost every inch of forest.

It was quite obvious that fall had come. Cooler weather came and the trees as a defense mechanism stored their sap in their trunk and roots. The tree chemically broke down their leaves and eventually let them fall to the ground. On the other hand, winter seemed very far off. Where was the 30°F weather that was here last week? Certainly this brook must freeze over in the winter? Hidden underneath the leaves were green grass, ivy, chives, and other vegetation. It just did not feel right. I guess I am just frustrated with the lack of snow. At home I would enjoy hikes in snow at Harriman State Park in November and early December. I truly hope it would sometime soon because I’d love to see the area transform into wintry white.

Winter may have not left its mark, but people have definitely made their presence in the area. I began by picking up a plastic bread and nature valley wrapper from the brook. A heavy day of rain could easily have dislodged the debris and sent it further down stream. To my surprise, one can was literally rooted to the ground. A small root had entered a hole in the can. I wound up collecting 5 cans, a large jug, a golf ball, plastic wrappers, and the Westhampton College cup I saw on my last adventure. I was amazed that it said freshman orientation 1994. Had that cup really been there for 18 years? Just to give some perspective, most current Earth Lodgers were 2 or 3 when the cup was made. I firmly believe a cleanup effort in the area is worthy. I forgot a garbage bag and was forced to carry it out by hand. A man who was walking his dog on the trail said thanks for cleaning the woods. He stated that he always walked his dog along the trail and he appreciated my efforts. This really made my day. People can have a big impact by trashing the environment, but also by cleaning up the mess others have made. Next time, I just need to remember to bring a trash bag.

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