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2021 Dunbar Brook
Monroe State Forest

Dunbar Brook is our happy place. It is one of the first places we hiked together when we first met, hiking the trail through the deep ravine admidst old growth ash and pine trees.

We return time and again, seeking the coolness of the air around the brook when the temps at home are too high. We've camped overnight and taken a number of day hikes, all of which provide solitude and rejuvenation.


Following are a few photos from our visits during summer of 2021. 

Water tumbles over boulders in Dunbar Brook

Moist forest duff supports a variety of fungi at Dunbar Brook

The brook pushes at its banks as water from recent heavy rains rushes downslope

In 2021 rainfall was plentiful, rendering the woods around Dunbar Brook a verdant wonderland. Birches, particularly paper birch (Betula papyrifera), grey birch (Betula lenta) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) proliferate the woods.

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), wild ginger (Asarum canadense) and foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) carpet the florest floor. 

These photos appear as though a color filter was used, but the color is all natural, a result of the sun filtering through the dense, verdant canopy of spring green leaves.

The perfection of a dry summer's day allows for us to use the tent without its fly, letting in as much of the outdoors as possible, but filtering out pesky black flies and mosquitos

Mary and Twyla chill out in the tent

Glen walks through the woods adjacent the river

The river is edged with clubmosses and ferns; Glen rock picks in the distance

According to MassDCR, "Dunbar Brook Trail is an out and back hike that climbs 700 vertical feet through shaded stands of old-growth eastern hemlock and northern hardwood trees. Pristine Dunbar Brook tumbles and drops over and around huge mosscovered boulders forming entrancing waterfalls, rapids and pools." The 3.2 mile trail follows the brook, diverging and then rejoining Dunbar Brook until it ends near the bridge on Raycroft Road. Here you can return the way you came, though we often do a larger loop, coming down the other side of Dunbar Brook and turning what would be a 6.4 mile hike into an 8+ mile hike.

There are a couple of lean-tos along the brook, but we typically camp in the woods at one of our favorite secret spots.

Indian cucumber (Mediola virginiana) displays delicate nodding yellow blooms

The centers of Cornus canadensis (bunchberry) hold tiny clusters (bunches) of flower buds

Wrapping up our short trip to Dunbar Brook, we stop by a picnic area looking over the Deerfield River on the way out of Monroe State Park.

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