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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is the nice one!

We spent a bit of time in the stream this morning (in boots, I assure you!) enjoying the nice weather. There's another line of showers coming through tomorrow, so get out there today!

At 9 am, it is 43 degrees and rising
69% humidity and rising
Pressure is 30.03 and steady
The stream has 5.2 inches of water running happily through it; the secondary channel continues to run, and we've got a nice stream of water coming over the falls today.

At 6:15 am, we had a very joyful cardinal letting us know that we dare not miss a moment of the day. Or so we assume.

Monday, March 30, 2009

rainy Monday

42 and steady degrees F temperature
98 and steady % humidity
29.32 and steady pressure
0.00 and yesterday 0.51 of rain in total
5+1111 for the stream (that's 5.8 inches)
9:10 am

Friday, March 27, 2009

The sun came back!

And it is a lovely afternoon out there right now (we're showing 65 degrees here at 2:30). Last night we got a total of 0.24 inches of rain, which raised the stream back up to 4.8 inches and lowered the fire danger back to LOW.
At 9 am, it is 44 degrees and rising
The humidity is 91% and steady
Pressure is 29.85 inches and steady

We had a group from Mass Audubon come through this morning for a hike up into the Cascades. They came just in time for the clouds to break.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The animals think it's spring

I came back from the bus stop today to find a little red squirrel on the side of a maple tree, lapping up sap! I guess that isn't just a legend.
We also saw, just walking down a block or two, a very happily singing cardinal, a quacking duck, and a hopping robin.

At 9 am, it is 43 degrees and rising.
49% humidity and falling
Pressure is 30.00 inches and steady
Stream is still running at 4.4 inches
The sun is shining and the sky is clear
The fire level has been lowered to MODERATE as we are expected to get some rain this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ALB survey tomorrow!

You know you want to do your part against those little critters that are defoliating the city. Here's your chance!

Meet tomorrow at noon at the Green Hill Park golf course parking lot for Asian Longhorned Beetle Survey. We'll be out until 1:30!

This is, as always, weather depended. If it rains, you can't see much up high. So far, it looks as though the rain is going to hold off until later in the afternoon, though.

Another deceptive day...

You look at the thermometer, it says 50, you walk out without a jacket, and wow! Not so warm!

At 9 am, it is 37 degrees and rising
49% humidity and falling
30.33 inches and steady for pressure
The stream stands at 4.4 inches with the Cascades continuing to fall.

We're heading out for a hike this afternoon; we'll comment here if we find anything.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Everybody knows it's

Yes, indeed, 18 mph or more. Amazing how much that brings down the perceived temperature. At 3pm, it's up over 50, but you'd never guess it if you're outside!

At 9 am it is 36 degrees and rising
41% humidity and steady
The pressure is 30.24 inches of mercury
The stream is running at 4.4 inches
Fire danger is HIGH

We've had some steady traffic on the trails again today.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunny and back to chilly

The wind and sun are baking the moisture right out of the forest; you can watch the humidity fall. Fire danger right now is HIGH, and with no rain forecasted, expect that to get higher.

At 9 am:
Humidity is 42% and falling (to 35% by noon)
Temperature is 26 degrees and steady
The stream is running with 4.4 inches of water.
Barometer stands at 30.18 inches--the nearest clouds are over Ohio.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fire Danger ALERT!!

The U.S. Forest Service server has been all funky on us as of late.
No predictions, other than my guess that without rain it has to be going up.

Well, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, and so I went to the US Forest Service Fire Prediction Center and went poking around and found this:

Forecast Fire Danger for here tomorrow is HIGH! (Yellow is HIGH)
No real rain forecast till Wednesday, and an EXTREME reading just to our northwest (small orange pocket), makes it look like we may see it rise even further.

So, unlike last week, this is now a time to over-react to smoke or fire in the woods.
You have now been warned!

Overcast, but still busy

The hikers, the dogs, the bicycles keep going by. It's a bit overcast now, as some cloud cover moves through, but it isn't supposed to amount to much, so enjoy the time outside!
(and we've really got to change that photo!)

At 2 pm, it is 46 degrees and falling
40% humidity and steady
Barometer stands at 30.06 and steady
The Cascades and the brook both are still running.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Busy day out on the trailhead

It was a busy day out on the trailhead!

Folks coming and going.
Lots of hikers.

Moving pine tree ice storm debris from the trail.
And there was more of that there than you could have guessed!
Layer upon layer, upon layer of flattened white pine tree branches matted together.
Moving ice storm debris from the glen in which the Lodge is situated.

The secondary brook has water in it, though not much flow.
The Cascade Brook was running at 5.6".

A terrific day once it warmed up.

Beautiful Day!

As of 11:12 a.m. here at the Lodge at Cascading Waters it is:

41 degrees F and rising,
39% humidity and steady,
30.42" of mercury and steady,
there is no recently recorded rainfall,
the Cascades are running,
it is sunny with a strong breeze.

The USFS server is down, so no forest fire danger predictions, though I would list it as low to medium, and likely to rise in the next few days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal equinox

The equinox tells us that we've got an equal night and day lengths today; from here on into summer, the days are longer than the nights! This should be good news for any of us sure that winter would never end! Spring started at 7:44 this morning, and noses here started itching just about the same time.

At 9 am, it is 34 degrees and rising
51% humidity and steady
30.18 inches of mercury and steady
The fire danger map is still down...
Cascades are running!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Line of rain

The radar shows a dramatic line of clouds running down and west across the country. Not much rain has fallen here, but it is NOT good beetle hunting weather, so this afternoon's search has been called off. Next Thursday, same time, same place!

At 9 am, it is 42 degrees and steady
67% humidity and rising
29.94 inches of mercury and steady
As of 9, we'd received no measurable rain (just some sprinkles)
The brook stands at 4.2 inches (it's going down!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hunt the ALB!

It won't be as easy as it was on Sunday, where you could find a giant one riding the back of the Mass Audubon truck, but you can go hunt that destroyer of Worcester's forests, the Asian Longhorned Beetle, this Thursday!

Meet at noon at the Green Hill Park Golf Course parking lot at noon for hunting!

Not quite 60

and windy, but lovely!

We just had another person trying to drive on through to the falls; sorry, guys! You've got to walk!

This is the spring melt, and the falls are getting less and less as the week goes along. If you haven't been out to see them running, get out there! You won't see it again until the big thunderstorms of summer.

At 9 am, it is 45 degrees and rising
62% humidity and steady
Barometer is at 30.08 inches and steady
Fire danger map is down...I'd expect that to rise, as the wind keeps up and the humidity falls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fire department at the falls

Great excitement here as we looked out the back window to see Engine 9, lights blazing, parked at the edge of the falls. Being as nosy as anyone (and also feeling some sort of responsibility should anyone be hurt who was hiking), I wandered up to see.
Someone called in a brush fire "about 20 yards beyond the falls" to 911. The firefighter who hiked up found a fire (looks like in the firepit that's up there) that had been recently started and abandoned, perhaps even as recently as the sounds of screaming sirens coming. And he put it out (they still use brooms for that, did you know?)

And, we repeat, the fire danger is LOW.


The skies are blue, the sun is shining, the trail is busy!
At 9 am, it is 35 degrees and rising
77% humidity and falling
Barometer stands at 30.24 inches and steady
The stream has 5.4 inches of water; it and the Cascades are running nicely.
Fire danger is LOW

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where is spring?

We went out for a hike this morning with that question in mind, and we came up with two signs of spring. The first is the amount of activity out in the forest: there just are more birds around (in particular) being busy than there are in winter. We heard two woodpeckers (caught sight of one, a little black-capped guy), and saw plenty of busy chickadees and such.

The second sign is this:
That's the Cascades this morning.

At 9 am, it is 30 degrees and rising.
Humidity of 44% and falling
Barometer is at 30.25 inches and steady under clear and sunny skies
The brook is running at 5 inches even.

A hike up the steep section of the Cascades trail and then on over the Newton trail today shows that we need to get up there with a bow saw; there's definitely a bit of clearing to be done on the slope, and then a whole section of tree across the Newton Trail. In the meantime, try to go over or through the trees rather than around them, as the bigger the trail gets, the worse the erosion.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If the melt holds

we may need to post a spring photo above!

Sunny Day

30 degrees F and rising
48% humidity
30.34" of mercury and rising
0.00" (no rain)
the stream stands at 6"
The secondary channels are running in the Cascades Brook.
The Cascades are running.
It is sunny and breezy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The stream is up to 6.4 inches this morning. The Cascades are rushing, and we expect both to increase over the course of the day, as more storm is coming!

At 9 am, it is 38 degrees and steady
98% humidity and raining and steady
29.97 inches in the barometer and falling
So far today we have received 0.16 inches of rain with more expected

The fire map is down today (it must have been all of you following the link from yesterday!), but we're guessing it's low and heading down to none if the rain continues.

Trails are muddy, with residual snow here and there.

UPDATE: at 4pm, the stream is up to 7 inches even. The secondary channel is running, and the swampier parts of the wetland are under water. Spring melt!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to winter

Yesterday was right back into winter again:
At 9 am, it was 33 degrees and steady
95% humidity and snowing (at that point; we'd had ice before that)
29.83 inches and steady for the pressure

Both today and yesterday we have the not-often seen experience of the Cascades running between banks of snow. Lovely!

At 9am today it is 31 degrees and rising
91% humidity and steady (sublimating and evaporating)
30.24 inches and steady on pressure
Stream stands at 6 inches even this morning
Fire danger is LOW, but the real story is what the rest of the map looks like. Over the weekend, northern New England all joined us in low fire danger; the snow must have largely melted. They've had no fire danger for most of the winter.

Keep in mind that the surface is now thawed under the snow, so it's mud, even if you can't see it!

Sunday, March 08, 2009


And the trail is hopping today. The Cascades are running, the brook is babbling! Get out in this sunshine! Trail conditions are muddy; after all, it was only a week ago that we got nearly a foot of snow, 'though you'd never know it today!

At 9 am, it is 50.4 degrees and rising (it might hit 60 noon!)
83% humidity and falling
29.74 inches of mercury and steady
Fire danger is NONE

Friday, March 06, 2009

Signs of spring

Last night, heading out to a meeting, I smelled a skunk! March is when the males head out, looking for mates, so that's certainly a sign of spring!
Also, one of the two hawks was up and shrieking again this morning. There was a pair--no idea if it's the same one--spotted up at West Tatnuck Elementary last week. We're getting there!

At 9 am, it is 43 degrees and rising, a very mild morning
Humidity stands at 64% and falling
Barometer is 30 even and falling; there's rain expected later today
Fire danger remains LOW
Stream is running at 5 inches even; expect that to rise over the weekend.

If the weekend is as warm as predicted, the Cascades will be rushing nicely; come see!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

We made the paper! again!

Cascading Waters made Mr. Southwick's interesting column on Boynton Park today:

Boynton Park is one of the city’s jewels. Located in the extreme northwest corner of Worcester, it runs into Paxton and Holden and features pleasant glades, woodlands and hiking paths. On the east it abuts Cascades East, owned by the Greater Worcester Land Trust. East of that 100-acre parcel are the famed “cascades” — spectacular waterfalls plunging and foaming down through the rocks, especially in the spring. Those used to be viewable from Cataract Street before it was closed as a public way. Today a short path from Olean Street leads to it.

You can still see the Cascades from Cataract Street, as the public way ends after the bridge. But the path is US! Thank you, Mr. Southwick. Do read the rest of the column, as it's interesting stuff!

Clear and cold this morning, but because there's no wind, it doesn't feel nearly as cold.
At 9am, it is 32 degrees and rising
51% humidity and falling
Barometer is at 30.33 and steady
Fire danger is back up to LOW

Stream and Cascades are still flowing

We're really noticing the sun coming up earlier these days, and so are the birds. They were up and singing before six this morning!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not spring yet

At 9 am, it is 24 degrees and rising
45% humidity and steady
Pressure is 30.21 inches and steady
Fire danger is NONE
No clouds anywhere near the eastern seaboard
We've still got a breeze, but it isn't quite as frigid as yesterday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back to winter

We in New England should know better, but somehow "March" always sounds like spring to me. Not today! But if you haven't had enough time with your snowshoes, break them out today; it's great snow for them. You'll want to be careful of exposed skin, 'though, as the wind is fierce.

At 1: 30, it is 35 degrees (we don't do windchill, but it counts today!) and rising
42% humidity and steady
Barometer is at 29.97 and steady under bright clear skies
Fire danger is LOW
Both the Cascades and the brook are running through the snow, but the stream gauge is frozen back in.
The parking area remains snowed in, but the drive is clear. You might safely bring your 4x4 to bear!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Good Snowshoeing Snow

Observations as of 10:15 a.m. this morning:

The world is covered in snow, but as a result of the wind it varies wildly from 5" to 12"+ depending upon where you are looking.
We will wait for the official numbers from the National Weather Service tomorrow.

Temperature 22 degrees and steady;
Humidity 80% and steady;
Barometric pressure 29.71" of mercury and falling;
On account of frozen slush we were unable to get a good measurement on this, though the flow is strong in the brook right now;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NULL.

The trail from Olean Street trailhead to Cataract Street is packed by snowshoes.

The parking area is snowed in and closed presently.

Enjoy the weather!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow, Twice over!

Welcome to storm 1 of 2!

This is the small one, though quite pretty I must say.

As of 12:00 p.m. it is snowing, with a gentle breeze.
The temperature is 24.6 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 69% and rising.
The barometric pressure is 30.00" and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is presently unavailable, though I would list it as LOW personally.
The Cascades Brook is running at 5.8".

And the other storm is still south of us lumbering up the eastern seaboard.

Humorously, yesterday, for the first time in months, the driveway was bare and more or less ice free.
Gone is the clear driveway within a mere half-day!

Fair number of hikers and photographers running through yesterday in the clear, blustery weather. Much quieter today on the trail. Still tricky with ice in spots and more so on account of the fresh layer of snow on top.