Secret Places: Quabbin Wilderness, Massachusetts
I first saw Quabbin reservation in my early twenties, though at the time I didn’t know its name. I enjoyed riding my motorcycle from Westport, Massachusetts, out to the Mohawk Trail as far as North Adams, often traveling along Route 122 through the north end of Quabbin. I considered it to be the most beautiful section of road along the way. Coincidentally, in my late twenties, I purchased a home and property in the town of Orange, adjacent to the Metropolitan District Commission’s Quabbin landholdings.
From then on, and for many years, I spent most of my spare time in Quabbin.
Although the history of Quabbin is fascinating — four towns in the Swift River Valley were purposely inundated to provide clean drinking water for Boston — that is not what attracted me to the place. I started out as a wildlife photographer, and Quabbin was replete with wildlife — beavers, otters, fishers, great herons, wild turkeys, coyotes, foxes, and especially deer. My wife and I founded a nature school, and for nearly 20 years we conducted many tracking programs in the Quabbin woodlands.
As my photography evolved, my interest shifted to the landscape, where, as I followed the rivers and streams, explored the forests, and meandered along the shores of the reservoir, I discovered some of the best panoramic overviews in southern New England.
Quabbin has offered me solitude and a place for reflection. I have enjoyed venturing off into a deeply wooded section with absolutely no destination in mind, just letting the forest invite me into its secret places. I would sit and observe my wandering thoughts, letting my mind take me wherever it wanted, until there was no one on the journey and no one in the forest — just the Quabbin woods.
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