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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

It's Snowing!

It's snowing out there!

It is lightly snowing and will be lightly snowing on and off all day today.

The temperature is 27.9 degrees F and steady;
The humidity is 82% and steady;
The pressure is 27.62" of Hg and falling;
The skies are overcast and snow is falling;
There is no wind presently;
The Cascades are ice, with snow cover, and some flow underneath;
The Cascades Brook channels have some flow with ice and snow cover;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

The trailhead is open, and the conditions are good for snowshoeing in the Cascades! In some ways it is even more wonderful to hike in the falling snow on snow shoes when the storm isn't a concern, so this is an opportunity.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunshine & Powdery Snow

A snowshoer just went by the Lodge with hiking poles!

The parking area is open enough for 2 cars presently, and we will see if we can expand that to 3 before the morning is out.

The bright sunshine and clear skies make is a magnificent day to explore the snow covered forest! It is deep enough with drifts to need snowshoes.

9:00 am conditions at the trailhead:

The temperature is 11.9 degrees F and rising;
The humidity is 47% and steady;
The pressure is 30.12" and steady;
There is no wind or breeze;
The skies are clear and there is glorious sunshine!;
The Cascades are frozen and largely covered in snow;
The Cascades Brooks are flowing but have snow and ice cover;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE!.

It is presently warmer on top of Mt. Washington in NH, which is 23 degrees F!

Especially for all the folks tied to the schools who are out today, enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow day!

Break out the snowshoes and cross-country skis!
We're just now breaking open the track to the street; give us a bit to gas the snowblower back up, get the sidewalks on Trust land cleared, and we should have the parking area open for you! 

Here in the hill's lea, we got somewhere around 20 inches; it will vary as you head up into the hills. It's a light fluffy snow: disappointing if you're trying to build something, but great for snowshoes!

At 10 am, it is 17.6 degrees and steady.
The humidity is 49% and steady.
The barometer is 29.74 inches of mercury and rising.
The fire danger is NONE. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard morning

Happy blizzard! We had a gusty, snowy night, and it's still coming down. 
At ten am, it is 18.5 degrees and rising. 
The humidity is 89% and steady.
The barometer is 29.35 inches of mercury and falling. 
We have a steady wind of at least 3 MPH, gusting as high as 10.
The fire danger is NONE.
The Cascades are entirely buried in snow.
We are measuring about 14 inches of fluffy snow here at the Lodge. 

Here's the front porch this morning:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blizzard Inbound!

We have a Blizzard Inbound!

The parking area has been cleared since Saturday evening so the trail is readily accessible. We have already had a x-country skier pass through! 

This evening/afternoon will be the test!
Do we have an honest to goodness blizzard with more than a foot of snow over Monday, Tuesday, into early Wednesday.... or not?
We here in the Lodge have stocked up on firewood and food and are hoping that the answer is a YES!

Amounts vary by prediction, computer model, and the hour, but anything from 14" to 41" have been mentioned at one time or another. We are hoping for a foot minimum and anything beyond that is pure gravy!

9:00 am Conditions at the Trailhead:

Temperature is 12.6 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 53% and steady
Pressure is 29.91" of Hg and steady;
The sky is a mix of overcast and clear;
We have a breeze, but nothing powerful enough to register in mph;
The Cascades are frozen;
The Cascades Brooks both have ice and flow;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

Enjoy the storm!

We will catch you on the trails!

Saturday, January 24, 2015


We've seen nearly none this year, so it's good to see the white stuff for a change!
At 10 am, it is 32.2 degrees and steady. 
The humidity is 19% and steady.
The barometer is at 29.41 inches of mercury and still falling.
A quick check outside gives us 4 inches so far, and it's still snowing heavily. 
So far it is light, fluffy snow. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Clear day

We have a clear day here for a work project afternoon!
At 9 am, it is 28.6 degrees and rising.
59% humidity and rising
The barometer is 30.00 inches of mercury and steady.
There's a breeze, but not enough to register. 
Storm coming this weekend, so we may get our snow cover back!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Leaves & Ice, Ice & Leaves

This weekend has done funny things to the forest.
All of the rain melted away the snow and ice on the forest floor EXCEPT where it was compacted through walking, so the trails are slick in spots where foot traffic compressed the snow over the past week and a half. Meanwhile the rains melted the snows that uncovered the ice mass that is the floe of the Cascades, and it is quite wonderful to behold!

The above picture was taken by neighbor and Trust member Patti!

Meanwhile, the torrential rains raised the flow of the brook and melted away much of the ice coating that made the brooks vanish, though there are still ice shelves overhanging the water here and there. In short, while slippery, it is quite pretty out there in the forest right now. Just watch your feet!

8:30 am trailhead conditions:

Temperature is 27.9 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 55% and steady;
Pressure is 29.65" of Hg and steady;
Wind speed is maxing at 3 mph in the one minute sample;
The sky is blue with small fair weather clouds;
The Cascades are running;
Both stream channels have flow on the Cascades Brook;
USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ice on the trails

We just saw a family out for an MLK day hike turn around halfway to the waterfall; the trail is all ice! 
Be prepared if you're heading out today. It has broken freezing here, but it is still underfoot. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yesterday Part II

We seem to have a repeat of yesterday, at least based on the 8:00 am numerical conditions. For the humor of it all I will list the prior day (in parentheses).

8:00 am conditions:

23.7 degrees F and rising; (23.7)
60% humidity and steady; (64%)
29.53" of Hg pressure and steady; (29.88")
The Cascades remain a frozen ice floe;
Both channels of the Cascades Brook are frozen but flowing;
The wind is stirring, but there is no wind speed reading;
The sky is overcast, though there was a window on the sunrise that was glorious before it clouded back over;
The USFS Fire Danger Class remains at NONE;
The ground cover is a mix of ice, frozen bare earth, and crunchy sublimated snow.

Make sure your footwear has good traction when you head out, and be careful on Silver Spring Road/Howard Street as it is two ice tracks with snow up the middle.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Somewhat less cold

(You know it's really winter when you are looking forward to it being above 25!)
At 8 am, it is 23.7 degrees and steady. 
The humidity is 64% and steady.
The barometer is 29.88 inches of mercury and steady under cloudy skies. 
If you have not seen the Cascades frozen, now is the time, as they are a cascade of ice right now. Both they and the brook are still running under the ice, however. 
Because it has been so cold without either more precipitation or a thaw, the snow underfoot has been beaten down into ice. If you are heading out on the trails, expect it to be slick anywhere others have walked. 
We had some great help from the folks at Dismas House yesterday in moving more logs down to be shaped for sign posts! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Frozen Over

Yesterday's warmth of 35 combined with the rains covered the world in melted puddles and slush.
Then, last night, the temperature dropped, and it is still dropping.
At 6:30 am it was 20,
At 7:15 am it was 17,
And now, at 8:00 am it is 15.
And now everything is covered in ice.
The worst of it is the places that were paved, which have black ice.
The best is out in the woods where it is crunchy irregular slush and snow and ice mixed, so there is some traction to be found.
Traction will be the key today if you decide to head out for a hike.

Also, as per repeated requests from a reader, we have an up to date picture of the Cascading Waters sign, thanks to Jackie's visit to Cook's Pond yesterday.

The trailhead conditions at 8:00 am:

Temperature of 15.1 degrees and falling;
Humidity of 54% and falling;
Pressure of 30.30" of Hg and rising (good weather sign);
There is a a breeze but not fast enough to generate a reading;
It is a clear sky day with the sun out in all of its glory;
The Cascades are a frozen ice floe;
The Cascades Brooks are coated in ice;
The USFS Fire Danger is NONE.

It is a great day for a hike, if you have boots with good traction.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow into Frozen Mist!

This morning started off with snow falling and leaving a thin coating, that tappered off and has transitioned into mist that is freezing on contact. Now THAT is a lovely mix!

8:00 a.m. Trailhead Conditions at the Lodge:

30.7 degrees F and steady;
74% humidity and steady;
30.09" of Hg pressure and falling (thus the "bad" weather);
There is a steady stirring breeze but it isn't fast enough to generate a reading;
The Cascades are an ice floe;
The Cascades Brooks are both coated in ice;
The sky is overcast and it is gently precipitating;
The USFS Fire Danger rating is NONE.

Think slippery footing folks. Wear boots with good traction. That being said, it is nearly at freezing, which feels practically balmy! There is much tropical print wearing in the Lodge in celebration of the warmth outside!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Snow Squall!

We have an honest to goodness solid snow squall turning the sky and forest white right now!

The Cascades Brook is exposed to the air in patches, and a sheet of ice is everywhere else.
The Cascades themselves are an ice mass that continues to grow in these cold temperatures.
The trails are becoming harder to distinguish as this fresh coat of snow covers the landscape.


8:00 am morning trailhead conditions at Cascading Waters:

Temperature of 20.8 degrees F and steady;
Humidity of 69% and steady;
Pressure of 29.71" and falling;
Wind is running up to 8.5 mph with higher gusts and is variable;
The sky is overcast and snow is falling in a steady and heavy.
The USFS Fire Danger is NONE.

Enjoy the winter wonderland conditions, but be careful to keep sight of the trail blazes and dress to not expose yourself to the wind.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


No school in Worcester today, due to windchills as low as -29!

At 9 am, it is 4.8 degrees and (finally) rising.
The humidity is 43% and steady.
The barometer is 30.09 inches of mercury and rising still, under clear blue skies.
Because we're somewhat sheltered by trees, we don't get quite the winds of elsewhere. Currently, we're seeing a fairly steady wind of somewhere between 2 and 3 MPH, with higher gusts.

The usual Thursday afternoon work project for GWLT is cancelled due to the cold. If you are venturing out, do bundle up in layers, and expose as little skin as possible. With windchills like this, exposed skin can get frostbite in very little time. And remember: frostbite doesn't hurt!
Stay safe!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tundra in the Cascades!

Welcome to the Tundra!

The Cascades are an ice flow, and in truth they have been for a good week now!

8:00 a.m. trailhead conditions:

temperature is 12.7 degrees F and steady;
humidity is 40% and steady;
pressure is 30.12" and steady;
wind is variable and 1.5 mph at present;
sky is grey overcast;
the Cascades are an ice flow!;
The Cascades Brook is still running;
Cook's Pond is coated in ice and the ice is thickening from the dangerous black of this weekend to a shade of grey that is getting more hopeful;
the USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

Oddly enough, without yesterday's winds, it kinda feels warmer out there this morning, but despite this illusion, please remember to cover exposed skin when heading out for a hike!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Paths in the snow

One of the advantages of having snow cover is we get a hint of who else is out on the property.

The lines that look like cracks in the snow are rapidly melting tunnels from our resident wood voles. They've been at a disadvantage this winter in dodging predators, as during the winter, they generally tunnel under the snow to go about their business. While we got less than 2 inches here, the voles wasted no time!
For a good rundown on the difference among mice, voles, shrews, and moles, see:

At 8 am, it is 32.9 degrees and FALLING (it was closer to 38 at 6 am).
The humidity is 51% and also falling.
The barometer is 29.71 inches of mercury and rising under clear skies.
Beyond the dropping temperature, the other story today is the wind. We have a consistent wind this morning of at least 3 MPH rising to 7 to 10 MPH frequently. 
Both stream channels are open and running. The Cascades are frozen, with water running under the ice.