Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day Trip to Waterfalls

One of best parts of life is having free days to go places!

Recently, my husband and I drove to the little town of Dalton, in Western Massachusetts, to visit Wahconah Falls State Park. Ours was the only car in an empty parking lot. We listened and thought we could hear gushing water so we locked up the car and proceeded to walk down a very steep and wooded path.

"Wahconah" is an Indian word. The entire area in this part of the state was once inhabited by Mahican Indians (also spelled Mohican and markedly different from the Mohegans) . This Native American Tribe was comprised of Algonquian people who lived here in the early 1700s.

The sound of rushing water became more pronounced and finally, through the trees, we saw the

Because of spring melt, the falls were huge and gushing down a rocky wall and were startlingly beautiful to see. A cool breeze emanated from the direction of the falls and the air felt moist.

As we meandered along the woody path back to the car, it was easy to imagine the native people who once lived here, walking in the woods. Could that noise have been footsteps of a hunter? Or an Indian maiden meeting her lover under the canopy of trees?

There's a high school in Dalton called Wahconah Regional. In the student handbook, there's an account of how the school was named the same name as the falls:

"Wahconah is named for a courageous and resourceful Indian Princess. The elders of the tribe wanted Wahconah to wed Miacomo to strengthen tribal ties with the Mohawks. She, however, was deeply in love with Nessacus, who had nearly lost his life rescuing her from a ferocious bear.
Since both suitors had strong claims to her hand, it was decided to leave the matter to fate. Wahconah was placed in a canoe to drift to the left or right of a small island. Although the current seemed to favor Miacomo, the canoe went to Nessacus's side. Wahconah and Nessacus were married and lived happily ever after. (It was later discovered that Wahconah had rigged the canoe with an ingenuous rudder)."
Here's a huge birch tree near the path to the falls.

So, that's the scoop about our trip to Wahconah Falls!



Chatty Crone said...


I really do enjoy posts that show places that people have visited. A lot of times we will never get there ourselves and it's like learning and seeing about the world - withoug having to go.

I love waterfalls. And I really enjoyed the story. Glad she got to Nessacus's side!

Thanks for sharing.

Well, Georgia had the civil war here . . .


Karen Lange said...

Love the photos. Looks like it was a wonderful day.

Linda said...

Gorgeous! I love waterfalls also. I have a State Park near me and there was once a textile mill there that was burned during the Civil War. I plan a hike soon to take some new photos of it.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful falls. There are tons of hiking trails and state parks within an hour or so of me. Me and hubs have gone a lot. I should post one. Thanks for sharing. You reminded me that I need to get back out.

diane stetson said...

I never knew the story of Wahconah before so that was a really interesting post.

Linda O'Connell said...

What a delightful and informative post, a short day trip in a few minutes, plus it reminded me of my dear frined in Mass. I live in St. Louis, a town steeped in history. Jesse James, the outlaw, and his gang hid out in Meramec Caverns a beautiful natural cave system about an hour away from us. Forest Park is where the 1904 World's Fair took place. Some of the buildings are still standing. How I wish I could have attended that wondrous event.

Susan said...

Dear Sandie, Karen, Linda, Diane, Rosie, and Linda O: So glad you girls visited while I was away. Went on a two day trip and could not find a computer to do Thursday's post! ha! Well, figured it was not meant to be and just had a fun excursion. But I was so glad all of you liked the excursion to Wahconah Falls.

Pretty soon you'll be "traveling" to South Yarmouth, Cape Cod so keep checking in! Sincerely, Susan

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