Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting to Know a Watershed

Trout Creek and Parlee Brook are full of small waterfalls and deep
pools like this one.
The following is a column I submitted to the Kings County Record.  I have changed the pics and added a map to provide you with a bit more.  The Trout Creek Watershed is truly a beautiful area and one I suggest you get out and explore.

Whalen's Wanderings
If I want to find an adventure I usually locate a good river or stream on a map and then follow it to its source.  Rivers and streams can hold many surprises and are something I love to explore, so much so I have based my job around maintaining them. 



Trout Creek, from its headwaters to its confluence with the Kennebecasis River, is one of the most beautiful waterways in the province.  It is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, a photographer’s paradise, an angler’s get away, and so much more.  I never bore of its landscape and am always finding a new point of interest to explore.  Over the years I have hiked many of the ridges, waded up many of the tributaries, climbed over many waterfalls, and swam in many of the pools that make up this scenic Creek system.



Recently I was able to wander around the headwaters of Trout Creek and one of its main tributaries, Parlee Brook.  The hills in the headwaters of these river systems are steep as the waters have carved narrow canyons out of the weathering conglomerate bedrock that dominates this area.  The steep terrain keeps the valleys shaded and moist, even with the warm dry weather we have been having, so a walk up these streams is not only appealing to the eyes but also refreshing. 



Steep valley walls result in deeply carved ravines
that frequently feed Parlee Brook and Trout Creek
Each of these rivers has a number of small waterfalls which many people have no idea exist.  I took some time recently, over two separate outings to explore some of these waterfalls and their associated pools.  The water is clear and cold in the pools at the bottom of the falls.  This is likely why no one bothers to search them out, as even on a hot summer day the water is very frigid and not ideal for swimming in, unless you have extraordinarily thick skin.   During peak summer months the flow is somewhat slow but the manner in which the pots and pools are formed indicates a powerful, watery, machine, carves out the deep cracks in the rock.  Because the water is so clear you can see the many trout sitting in schools on the bottom of many of these pools.  One or two pools however are so deep that shadow and darkness closes in before your eyes can discern the bottom substrate.


These rivers combine, along with Cedar Camp Brook, to flow through the Sussex Valley and provide a lifeline to those living, farming, working, and recreating, along the banks of Trout Creek.  Many however, still take its presence for granted and I encourage all of you to get out and learn about the river, creek, or stream, flowing near your home.  Where does it start?  Does it have waterfalls?  What fish are in it?  Simply wander its banks and get to know it like you would an old friend.  Just like you expect an old friend to be there when you need it, you also expect the river to provide.  The relation you have and the one you could develop might surprise you.

View Trout Creek and Parlee Brook in a larger map
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