Monday, April 10, 2006

My week up north

So I spent last week in Connecticut and Massachusetts delineating wetlands for Amtrak. Amtrak typically does culvert repairs in the summer and needs to know where exactly the wetland boudary occurs for permitting purposes. Connecticut should really consider changing it's name to the wetland state, as I have never seen so many wetlands in my life. Giant sprawling systems stretching as far as you could see. It was pretty amazing. My co-worker and I got to Connecticut on Monday evening and stayed in Old Saybrook. What a charming little town. We worked with three Amtrak safety workers the next three days visiting sites along the coast of Connecticut and one site in Massachusetts. They kept us safe and entertained as they were really fun to work with. Even with their supervision and the safety class we had to take before working on Amtrak property, it is still scary standing 10 feet away from an Acela train going 140 mph, as was the case in Massachusetts. Thankfully you could see the trains coming from several miles away. In areas without that kind of visibility, the trains were not moving quite as fast. A fun thing I picked up during our time with Amtrak was yelling "Hot Rail" everytime a train is coming. At home, we live less than a mile from Amtrak lines and hear trains frequently. I drove my husband crazy over the weekend, yelling "Hot Rail" everytime I heard the train whistle. And as a parting gift I received a penny, squished beyond all recognition by a Providence and Worcester Freight train, as a reminder to always be safe and stay away from the tracks. Here are some pictures of wetlands and other things I saw.

Here we are in Massachusetts. It snowed that day. As you can see, there really isn't anywhere to go off to the side. The Acelas there traveled close to full speed, about 130-140 mph.

Skunk Cabbage growing at the base of the railroad ballast.

A wooded wetland in Connecticut. Look at those buttressed tree roots. A telltale wetland indicator.

A very large scrub/shrub wetland complex in Connecticut.

Hot Rail. I liked this site. The fact that we were on the other side of the fence from the train was a good thing.

Swans on a pond in Connecticut.

Tidal Marsh near Groton, Connecticut.

Tidal Marsh right along the Connecticut coast.

Vernal pool in Connecitcut. Valuable amphibian breeding territory as it is dry most of the year and cannot support a fish (predator) population.

Tidal pond in Connecticut. The ocean is just past that far tree line.

Tree covered in some type of fungi. Really neat looking.

Can you spot the two wild turkeys in this picture?

This is the view north from the drawbridge in Mystic. We toured around a lot in the afternoons. I liked Old Mystic but espcially liked Old Lyme. Really, really pretty.

I loved the time I spent this past week and look forward to going again in the future. Special thanks to Mike, Rick, and Paul for keeping me from being squished beyond all recognition and for not getting mad when I asked them for the umpteenth time when the train was coming.


Anonymous Liz said...

hee hee... hot rail! Love it!

We were on Amtrak to visit the parents... it really is a great way to travel. (although not on the Acela... way too $$)

And Skunk Cabbage. We all know how you love skunk cabbage. ;) Seems like you had a good time working the rails.

10:19 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

yeah, a great time. Even today, alone in my car...I saw an Amtrak train and said "hot rail" to myself.

10:11 PM  
Blogger EFB said...

sounds like a fun job!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Judith said...

Hot rail!! Love that one! Gee, I would have driven to say hello to you when you visited MA. What a souvenir--the penny. I do like the sound of trains in the distance--we don't hear that anymore where we live now. Yes, the CT area you visited is very nice. Glad you stayed on the other side of the fence. I ought to have you identify my wetland plants...

2:49 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

take some pictures and I'll tell you what they are. I was suprised that they really aren't that different from here. Maybe proportions are different, but that is it.

11:12 PM  

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