Thursday, September 17, 2009

Air Line Trail over the Rapello & Lyman Viaducts

As summer simmers down and we await New England bursting into its hues of red, orange and yellow, I’m reminded of my annual hikes as a Boy Scout walking the rail road tracks to the viaducts. Every fall, Troop 47 would take a day long hike along the rail line, reaching the Lyman Viaduct where we would climb down the cinder facing and camp by the “diving” pool created from the stream running through the culvert under the viaduct.

Dickinson Creek cascading under the Lyman Viaduct near Bull Hill that forms the "diving pool"

Now converted into the Air Line Trial, he 13 mile route, beginning at Cranberry Bog, passes over the viaducts, Bull Hill, the Salmon River on through Colchester, and traverses the bed of the former NY, New Haven and Hartford Rail Road. It is one of our Town’s great assets. Where else could your walk, jog or bike, or just find a great place to take the family and the family dog and best of all – it’s free!

A few facts about the Air Line Trail and viaducts: Leaving Cranberry Bog, you walk through Linkpot Cut, 1,800 feet in length with an average depth of 40 feet. Next you cross Flat Brook on the Rapello Viaduct, an iron structure of 1,378 ½ feet in length and 60 feet high.

The Rapello Viaduct over Flat Brook as it looked circa 1890 when it was an open trestle

The trail continues winding through numerous cuts until it reaches the 1,600 foot long Lyman Viaduct that is over 200 feet high.

The original open frame of the Lyman Viaduct as it appeared after construction in 1867

The original open iron frameworks of both viaducts have been filled with gravel and old coal cinders and I’m told old rail road cars.

The top of the Lyman Viaduct Rail Road Bridge structure appearing through the fill

From the top of the Lyman Viaduct one gets panoramic views of the Salmon River Valley.

The pristine waters of the Salmon River

The Salmon River near the fly fishing area

Take a Walk with Me

If you are interested in doing something good at the same time you walk the trail, my colleagues at Prudential Connecticut Realty will be walking to raise funds for one of our favorite charities – Sunshine Kids – national foundation raising money for kids with cancer. These kids could use your support, so if you’d like to join me on October 6th or pledge towards the miles I walk, please call me at 860-918-4400.

Sunshine Kids

The Sunshine Kids Foundation provides exciting, positive group activities for children with cancer so that they can do what children should do – have fun and celebrate life. Thousands of children from hospitals across the country benefit from the foundation’s programs and events.
Corporations, foundations and individual donors fund The Sunshine Kids Foundation. The foundation’s programs and activities are free to children, families and hospitals.
Prudential Connecticut Realty adopted The Sunshine Kids Foundation as their company charity in 2002. Since then, we have raised more than $1.3 million through charity events and donations. Young cancer patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and New York City.
Visit The Sunshine Kids Foundation Web site at to learn more or to show your support. See the Sunshine kids video.

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