Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not as warm as it looks

We've had a busy few days here at the Lodge, planting new things. Yesterday we got in an apple tree in the front (someday, we hope, you'll see the flowers as you come up the trail) and three new rose buses along the stone wall that edges the trail as you come through the clearing. Today, we put in lettuce in the garden and what we hope will be the start of a raspberry thicket over against the bound line to the south.

It's sunny today, but not as warm as you'd guess. As of noon, it's just 49 degrees.
Barometer is holding steady
45% humidity
The fire danger is back down to MODERATE
Cascades are running white
The trail is drying out after all the rain. Do stay on it, as erosion will continue to be a danger through the spring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cascades ROARING, Brook near flood stage

Yesterday we received 1.38" of rain.
This morning we received 0.20" of rain.

This is a total of 1.58" of rain in less than 24 hours.

As a result the Cascades are back to a white frothing mass.
The Cascades Brook is full to the brim and has overflown into the alternative channel to the north, and has filled some low pools near the banks as well.

No danger of us getting to flood as the rain is clearing out on the radar map.

Nevertheless the Cascades are quite impressive again!
The trail is soft but is decent shape.
Come on by to take a look for yourself.

Presently it is 7:35am.
The temperature is 51.3 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 98% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.53" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Sunday I also noticed two new blooms in the woods: Red Trilium and windflowers.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Here comes the rain!

We already have registered 0.04" this morning.
Sound like nothing?
Well, it is more rain than we have gotten in the last two weeks combined!

Rest assured, the storm is just getting going and there will be plenty of rain from this storm before things clear out in a day or two.

Presently it is 8:45am at the Lodge.
The temperature is 43.3 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 95% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 30.00" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE as of yesterday, but that will be dropping.

As yet the trails are only damp.

The brook and Cascades are flowing BUT as yet there has been no notable increase in flow (big surprise at only 0.04")

* * * * * * *

11:45am and we are up to 0.20" of rain

* * * * * * *

10:15pm and we are up to 1.10" of rain.

Saw a rabbit hop across the driveway tonight.

45.7 degrees F steady, 98% humidity steady, 29.71" of mercury and falling.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Leafing in

Each half day shows a notable increase in the leaf coverage out here.
The rains predicted to come and go in the next two days, and the solid rain for Monday and Tuesday should complete the transformation.

Presently it is 9:30 am at the Lodge.
The Temperature is 55.0 degrees F and rising (rapidly).
The Humidity is 48% and falling.
The Barometric Pressure is 30.12" and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is HIGH.

There is a light breeze.
The brook is running.
The Cascades have some small flow over the top.
The trails are in decent shape.

Enjoy summer's opening act.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Magnolia has Bloomed!

More spring here at the Lodge.

The Magnolia has bloomed its white pink flowers.
The trace rainshower we had Wednesday night encouraged the grass tremendously.
The Trout Lily yellow flowers are out on the forest floor.
The leaves on the trees increase by the half day such that the view of Cook's Pond is rapidly fading away to reflected light in the trees.

Presently it is 9am
The temperature is 60.4 degrees and rising.
The humidity is 35% and falling.
The barometric pressure is 30.09" mercury and steady.

I believe that it has been 10 days since we have had any recordable rainfall.
As a result the USFS Fire Danger is VERY HIGH, with it falling to HIGH to our south and east.
Be thoughtful in the woods and avoid open flames, eh?

The brook is still running and there is still a small amount of flow over the Cascades.

The trails are in good shape.

It is a beautiful day.

Here at the Lodge we have three farm gates that arrived yesterday by MassAudubon pickup from the Leicester Agway.
A 10', 12', and 16' 1 x 3/4" diameter pipe x 50" tall.
They are awaiting an,
Earth Day installation at Nick's Woods on Saturday May 3rd.
Nick's Woods is in between Rte. 122A Grove Street and Holden/Brattle Street on the Worcester Holden line.
We will be doing other site improvements, a cleanup, there will be food and T Shirts for RSVPed Volunteers!
If you are interested in participating in that event call GWLT at:

508-795-3838 ext 603

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How much difference did that rain make?

As of yesterday afternoon, the observed fire danger in Central Mass was up to HIGH, with a pocket of VERY HIGH up along the Vermont/New Hampshire border. It remains to be seen how much of a difference that rain that went through last night made in our dry forests. As the National Weather Service has posted a RED FLAG WARNING for Worcester County meaning a strong fire danger with high winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures, it appears not much. That went up at 4:30 this morning.
At 7:30, it is 60 degrees and rising.
Clear skies
74% humidity (evaporation right now from the grass)
Barometer is steady

If you've seen anyone out with a lawn mower in the past few days and caught the cloud of dust that follows them, you know that it is DRY out there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Too beautiful to post!

Sorry that we haven't been posting over here...we've been out and about early in this gorgeous weather we've been having. Can you believe it is only April?

At 1:30 it is 82 degrees (in the sun!)
29% humidity; the fire danger is back to MODERATE
Steady barometer.
Trails are dry right now.
The brook and the falls aren't quite down to a trickle, but they will be soon if we don't get some rain.

Hope you are all outside!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Today has more sunshine, but there is a new difference.

Here at Cascading Waters, where it is a tiny bit cooler than the rest of the City of Worcester, we have leaf buds and early leaves as of this morning generally in the trees of the property.

Now we are getting somewhere!

Presently the temperature is 63.5 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 34% and falling.
The barometric pressure is 30.24 " of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

The trails are in good shape though there is a tire and brake part dumped at the bridge on Cataract Street. Got to work with the city on that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cooler, Cloudy, but Dry

An early post today.

It is 6:49am and cloudy and the air is still.

The temperature is 45.0 degrees and steady.
The humidity is 86% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 30.27" and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.

Due to lots of brush fires getting out of control the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and local fire chiefs have banned brush pile banning.

The trails are in good shape.

The Cascades Brook is running, and there is a bit of flow over the Cascades.

The Magnolia tree is ever closer to popping open this morning.

Happy Patriot's Day (Observed.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More sunshine..... but there is still no rain

Another day of warmth and sunshine, but no rain, and no rain predicted for the near future either.

The plants are all popping.
The magnolia's huge buds have burst quite suddenly.
Sprouts of trout lily, day lily and the like are popping up.
Skunk cabbage like leaves are in low spots and along the banks of the brook.

The brook still flows, and the Cascades still have some water going over them.

Presently it is 9:54am with a light breeze.
The temperature is 54.7 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 64% and falling.
The barometric pressure is 30.18" and steady.
There is no rain, and there has been no measurable rainfall for just over a week now (8 days back was 0.51")
As a result the USFS Forest Fire Danger Class is HIGH.

Yesterday saw a fair amount of traffic at the trailhead, with some folks parking on Olean Street.

Get out there and enjoy the weather on the trails!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Great Spring Saturday

As of 8:00am

A nice warm, sunny morning.

You will note plants are beginning to pop up in the woods and some of the earlier native plants and some of the invasive bushes are showing activity.

The trails are in decent shape, and there isn't too much mud to speak of.

The temperature is 55.5 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 67% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 30.00" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger Class is MODERATE.

There is flow in the Cascades Brook and a little bit of flow over the Cascades.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nice day for a hike

The forestry job is over (they were here well into the afternoon).
At 7:45, it is 49 degrees and rising (it's gone up 10 degrees in the last hour).
48% humidity
Barometer is steady at 29.9 pounds of pressure
Fire danger is still HIGH.
The cardinal was singing his heart out this morning at 6 am!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tree trimming

Should you come through Cascading Waters this morning, please don't be alarmed at the presence of men with chainsaws. A neighbor has asked to trim and cut some of the trees on CW which overhang his property. After much discussion (including with our GWLT forester), the trees they are taking and trimming are carefully marked and selected.

So they aren't taking everything down! Really, it's okay.

Also entertaining, if you're into people being up in trees!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The bloodwort is up!

A sure sign of spring!

These little white flowers are among the earliest forest bloomers. They bloom, in fact, before they get their leaves out. You'll find them all over Cascading Waters once they're all up. These I found out by our back stone wall; the ones under the tree cover are a little behind and will be up in a day or two.

A health note: as much fun as it is to pick off a flower or leaf, smear yourself with the red sap, and run around yelling, "I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!" (thus the name), the sap is toxic and can destroy skin cells. So don't.

Beautiful day

The junior rangers are reporting today. They say that:
It is sunny and still a little chilly. It is getting warmer (and warmer and warmer...)
It is 55 degrees and 37% humidity
(pretty dry)
The barometer is flat (holding steady)
The fire danger is HIGH

The trail is good.
The waterfall is running and so is the brook.

Here is a bunny we found next to the tent platform last week. We didn't get a picture until after he hid under the platform, though:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Earlier Mornings

Well the tilt of the earth and the time change have brought us spring.
The lack of constant rain and snow clouds helps too.
There was light from the sun to be seen in the pre-dawn sky at 5am.
If you are up it makes returning to sleep pretty hard.

It is still early enough in the spring to freeze things overnight and so it did last night.

Presently it is 6:30am and clear.

30 degrees F and steady (wait for the sun to get things heated)
73% humidity and steady.
30.03" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger Class is MODERATE.

The Cascade Brook is flowing, and there is some flow over the Cascades.
A jogger just passed by on the Cascades Trail with a dog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Clear and Chilly

At 8:30 it is 42 degrees and rising (it's gone up ten degrees since I've been up!)
Clear and sunny with some wind
Fire danger is back down to LOW
Barometer is steady at 29.9 pounds of pressure
Cascades are running nicely!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Moments of Sun

Right now there are moments of sun in between the two storm systems.
It is warm out, wet, dripping, with lots of puddles.

As of 8:00 am:
The temperature is 48.6 degrees F and steady.
It is 98% humidity and steady.
The pressure is 29.50"of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger Class is NONE (Big surprise there!)

The trails are wet, soft, with puddles.

The 0.47" of rain that fell has primed the brook and the Cascades, which are seeing some flow.
Additional rains, particularly if they are heavy, should really get things cooking at the Cascades later today.

The birds are making the most of this lull in the storms.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fun Observations

HAWK, with cargo.

Firstly, as I was heading south on Olean Street from the Reservoirs, I stirred up some wildlife.
There was a juvenile red hawk sitting in the brush by the side of the road eating a small rodent.
He was ok with cars passing by in the road, but a bike coming up the shoulder was closer than he was prepared to accept and it surprised him.
He grabbed his snack, and about two fist-fulls of dried leaves because of the sudden rush, and flew low across Olean Street to cover.
It was pretty funny to see a hawk flying with apparently with just a prized clump of dried oak leaves.


The other item of note is that the USFS Forest Danger Class is MODERATE/HIGH at the moment.
We are riding the line between the areas with Worcester North as HIGH and Worcester South as MODERATE.
I would think that todays rains and the rains to come will settle that back down again.
Nevertheless, the HIGH is something we haven't really seen this pretty dang wet spring.
So, the lesson: Don't play with matches in the woods, yesterday.


The rains we had this morning didn't amount to much.
The rain gauge didn't get enough to register.

Rain's a-comin

(those of us will allergies and colds will attest that a front is moving in!)

No rain yet, and the barometer is holding steady so far.
Current temperature at 9 am is 44 degrees
64% humidity

The brook is running briskly, as are the Cascades, and a weekend of rain will only make them more spectacular.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Haze is Burning off into Another Nice Day

Presently it is 8:10 am and hazy with a hint of partial cloudy burning off as the sun rises.

The temperature is 51.8 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 94% and steady.
The pressure is 30.03" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Spring is arriving.
Crocuses pop up only to get rooted by the skunk's nibbling overnight.
We only get to see the colorful petals on the ground.
The moss is a very healthy green, and the grasses are trying to make a go of it.

The trails are in good shape.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Another nice one

Another clear spring day: get out and enjoy it!
At 7:30 it is 32 and rising
87% humidity with a few clouds
Barometer holding steady
Fire danger is MODERATE

The Cascades trail saw plenty of traffic yesterday: people, dogs, and a least one bike.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another Nice Day

While as yet it is still cold outside, it is clear, and looking pretty good.

Presently it is 7:30am and clear with a light breeze.
The temperature is 34.0 degrees F and steady as yet (give the sun a chance!)
The humidity is 86% and steady.
The pressure is 30.33" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger Class is MODERATE.

Expect soft trails with localized puddles and wetness.

Probably a good day for hike.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bright, sunny, and warm

There is a gentle breeze and full sun drying out the forest.
The lawn has been wet enough and warm enough to have developed into a large sheet of moss out in front of the Lodge.

The song birds have begun to move back into the neighborhood from the songs we heard this past weekend.

Presently it is 8:45am.
The temperature is 39.4 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 83% and falling.
The pressure is 30.30" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger Class is LOW.

The trails should be soft today with spot puddles.

So far traffic on the trail has been light this morning.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


A damp, but not rainy, morning. There was also no rain last night
A very happy golden retriever just bounded up the trail ahead of his people!

It's 40 degrees at 11:30.
85% humidity
Barometer holding steady today (looks like the clouds are trying to clear, too)
Fire danger is LOW

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Cloudy, wet, dripping, but not raining.... right now

Presently it is 10:00am and cloudy with no breeze.
Since midnight we have had 0.20" of rain on top of yesterday's 0.75".
Everything is wet and there is much dripping from branches but no active rain.

The Cascades Brook is full and running.

The Cascades are quite attractive with a curtain of white water and several ribbons of white rushing water across the rock face.

The temperature is 42.4 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 98% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.80" and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger is LOW.

All trails are wet, muddy and soft, so please be careful as you hike not to promote erosion by straying from a trail to avoid puddles.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Lots of Rain Means a Full Brook and Running Cascades

It is 7:52 pm,
42.4 degress F and steady,
98% humidity and steady,
29.68" of mercury and falling.

Today we have had 0.75" of rain.

The Cascades Brook is full, though not quite at flood stage.
The small dams of leaves and twigs made by the spring floods have filled up into pools of water.
The brook is white with the movement of water.

Meanwhile, at dusk, the Cascades are readily apparent as a bright white of moving and foaming water coming down the dark rock face of the hill in low light.
It is as if the moving water is luminous.

A few more days of this and we might just manage to get the brook to flood stage and the Cascades really running!

Everything is wet and muddy.

The low pressure of the storm and the burgeoning allergy season are an interesting mix for the sinuses.

Let the rains begin

Presently it is 7:35am and overcast, raining, and the air is pretty still.
It is 34.7 degrees F and steady,
It is 88% humidity and steady;
It is 30.09" of mercury and falling;
The USFS Forest Danger Class is LOW.

Since midnight there has been 0.31" of rainfall and it is still falling.
The National Weather Service and the Regional radar show rain in a band from the midwest to Massachusetts that will be over us all weekend long.

There is so much water up in the wetland at the top of the Cascades that pretty much any rainstorm can energize the Cascades Brook and the Cascades. Right now they are running gently and I fully expect them to continue and to increase as the weekend progresses.

The ground is definitely, fully muddy and very soft.

Be careful out there as these are the conditions that lead to soil erosion. This would be a particularly sensitive period that bars mountain bikes.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rain Coming!

According to the National Weather Service there will be rain starting from tonight after 3am until Monday morning on and off every day.

Pull in the laundry and some firewood.
Throw the tarps over any equipment.

Pull out the mucking boots.

The clouds are over Pennsylvania on the radar map.

Presently it is 4:53pm and it is:
50.5 degrees and steady,
28% humidity and steady,
30.24" of mercury and falling.

Bright, sunny, and promising warmth

Presently it is bright and sunny here at 8:00am
The temperature is 30.2 degrees F and steady.
54% humidity and steady
30.39" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Forest Danger is LOW.

There is no breeze to speak of.

The ground did lightly freeze last night helping make the trail less soft this morning especially after all of that rain we had.
It is supposed to get very warm today.
That will be very pleasant, but will also reveal portions of trail that are very soft to muddy.

There is some flow in the Cascades Brook and there is some water coming off of the Cascades.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Clear skies after the storm

Did you catch those thunderstorms last night? They were really quite something! Here at the Lodge, the thunder bounces off the ledge by the falls, so it really echoes.

Clear skies this morning. Looks like a lovely day.
At 10:30, it's 40 degrees. 47% humidity.
Barometer is still rising with 30 so far.
Fire danger (as of yesterday) is LOW.
Quite a bit of wind.

If it continues to warm up, you'll want to watch out for muddy areas of the trail. A stroll down the Holden trail yesterday afternoon was more of a skip and a jump in spots. All the little brooks along the old Cataract Street cartpath are babbling and burbling, however. And the falls are quite something this morning. Go for a walk!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Wet, cloudy, and warm

Since last night we have 0.20" of rainfall.
Last night we had 0.35" of rainfall.

As a result the Cascades Brook and the Cascades have a bit more life and flow in them.

Presently it is 7:35am and
the temperature is 54.3 degrees F and steady,
the humidity is 98% and steady,
the pressure is 29.91" of mercury and falling, and
the USFS Forest Danger class is LOW.

Things are decidedly muddy and the ground didn't freeze overnight.
Pockets of rain over today seem likely from the radar map.