A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Freeville Tour: Mill Dam Park

This post is the first in what will be a series of posts giving you a look at the Freeville area.  Freeville is built around its natural areas - namely, the two creeks, Virgil Creek and Fall Creek.  Both creeks meander aimlessly, zigging and zagging across the landscape with constant switchbacks.  The above photo was taken downstream of my dock, looking back upstream toward the dock.  A small island is visible in the left of the photo, as the creek splits and approaches the ruins of an old mill dam.

The above photo, taken from the same location as the previous one, but this one looking in the opposite, downstream, direction.  In the distance, Mill Dam Park and a concrete wall remaining from the old dam are visible in the background.

The sign for Mill Dam Park, one of two parks in Freeville that are maybe a half mile apart.  Fall Creek and the ruins of the old dam are hidden in the background, behind the trees.

Here's a look at the park.  It's got some wooded and some open space, picnic benches, a grill, and playground equipment.

A view of the park from another angle.

A view from the far side of the park looking back toward the near side.  In the distance are Fall Creek and the old dam.

To the left of the view in the above picture sits a small ravine or ditch with natural vegetation that provides a place for runoff to accumulate during times of high rainfall.

Beyond the ditch sits this retention pond, currently stagnant and overgrown with algae.  This photo was taken on a path connecting the main area of the park with the other areas of the park, farther from the road.  Under the path runs a culvert that allows excess runoff from the creek to enter the retention pond.

Above is a look from the same path as the previous photo, but looking in the opposite direction.  You can see the creek in the background, with a ditch forming a spillway between the creek and the path. 

The park has more open space here, farther from the road - room for the kids to run around, and benches for the parents or grandparents to sit on and watch.

Now we've moved over next to the creek.  This photo looks back towards the place where the first couple of photos in this post were taken.  On the far left bank of the creek is the small island that I pointed out earlier.  To the left, and out of view of the photo, are the remains of the old mill dam.

A look at some of the concrete remains of the old dam.

More dam remains.  The steel beam that crosses the creek connects to the small island on the other side.

A look at the other side of the dam.  In the background, you can see the other branch of the creek meeting up with the dammed branch that approaches from the right of the photo.  In the foreground and to the left, you can see a rusted spike and hook that were apparently used to connect across to the other side of the dam across the creek.

Looking downstream, the creek narrows and enters yet another zigzag in its winding course.

A reminder of Halloween, a pumpkin rests in peace up against a concrete slab of the dam.  It's somewhat surprising that more debris hasn't accumulated there.

Looking at a more shaded segment of the creek, patches of white - ice! - appeared on the surface.  This was surprising because I took these photos on Sunday afternoon, after the sun had been up for hours and temperatures had climbed well above freezing into the upper 40s.  I suppose this is a preview of winter - as temperatures plummet, it looks like the creek will freeze over.

Here's a view similar to the first photo in this post, looking back upstream toward my dock.  In the background, the water surface is shimmering with reflection, while in the foreground, the surface is still covered with patches of ice.

Looking to the left of the previous photo, the small island is visible on the opposite bank, while the creek is still covered with patches of ice in the shaded foreground.

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