A quandary presented itself in the wilds of Massachusetts.
A few years ago, after visiting all the "big and famous" waterfalls in the state, I crowned Enders Falls as the king of Connecticut's grand plunges. Well, how did I know Connecticut had a state park that reached into Massachusetts and showcased a waterfall that would force Enders to abdicate the throne?
And, yes, it's a cliché, but Norfolk's Campbell Falls State Park was love at first sight - or sound. You know you are in for a natural world treat when the howling northwest winds thundering through the giant white pines fail to drown out the roar of the distant falls. After passing several granite boundary posts marking the border of the two states and gently traveling down a pine needle-covered slope, you stand face-to-face with perfection.
I'm not sure if it was the swollen Whiting River thundering over the rocky gorge or the brightly colored rainbows that formed in the foggy spray that rolled in wispy waves from the waterfalls, but Campbell Falls quickly worked its way to the top of the waterfall leaderboard.
The journey from Norfolk to New Marlborough, Mass. sounds lengthy, but it's only about a half mile from the parking area. But that short journey packs in a lot of Mother Nature as visitors pass through a forest of huge white pines and a late-surviving snow pack in one of Connecticut's coldest towns. Exploring the banks of the robust Ginger Creek is a nice side trip as the stream merges with the Whiting River near the falls' final plunge.
The path marked with yellow blazes actually goes into Massachusetts and back into Connecticut and then back to the Bay State before reaching the falls. The falls include two acres in Connecticut and four in Massachusetts. According to state Department of Energy and Environment spokesman Dennis Schain, the falls were purchased in 1921 by Alain White "of White Memorial Foundation fame" and gifted to both states in order to protect them.
"An informal arrangement has emerged over the years – rather than any formal agreements – for the joint management of the lands," he said. "There has been communication and cooperation between the states."
Visitors can view both the top and bottom of the 62-foot-high double plunge falls along granitic gneiss ledges. An overhang of former lava flows below the falls will keep visitors dry as they watch the water rush past. A side trail to the top and Campbell Falls Road brings visitors across a massive stone arch bridge to a spectacular view of the plunging falls.
On my way back to the car, I met a hardy group of hikers from Portland's Meshomasic Hiking Club. The group was on their weekly Wednesday jaunts around the state. Hike leader John LeShane showed me what is believed to be the state's sixth-tallest white pine. As the rest of the group headed down to the falls, I said my goodbyes not only to the club, but the new King of the Connectichusetts Waterfalls.
Route 44 to Route 272 and a left on Spaulding Road just prior to the Massachusetts line. The park is located on the right. Go here for a map of the park.Copyright © 2015, CT Now