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Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest, Chesterfield

T and I had a bit of an adventure finding our way to the Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest in Chesterfield but it was worth the trials to find the areas that we did. Originally, we wanted to check out Hampton Ponds State Park. And we did! In fact, it took us two minutes of driving to see the entire park. Our misunderstanding and lack of pre-scouting the park online. The park though very lovely, is a lake called Hampton Ponds with a boat landing and a small beach with pavilions for families... and not much else. Meanwhile, we quickly discovered that the C. M. Gardner State Park was still closed (and did not have any off street parking so we couldn't just waltz in), so we parked along the Route 112 Scenic Byway and googled areas nearby that we could potentially explore.

There were a couple forests and parks north of us, so I navigated us in the direction of the Chesterfield Gorge Reservation unsure if there were trails or what there really was to see. Not only was the Gorge spectacular, but a mile down the dirt road led us straight into the Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest, and the easily walkable 8-mile-long East Branch Trail. There were a lot of recreational groups on the trail including dog-walkers, and we also encountered one fly-fisher (waders and everything!). The trail is more of a dirt and gravel road that is easy to navigate for all skill levels that is parallel with the East Branch of the Westfield River. Though the road starts at the top of the gorge, you quickly descend around 70ft so you can easily walk at the same level as the river (or into it). I would love to go again in the winter after it snows! I am sure it is breathtaking at all times of the year. It was drizzling/raining most the time we were there so I don't have any sketches from this journey. Next time!

*Photographs taken with Nikon D3000.




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