Last Chance to Celebrate

Some of you may recognize a portion of this as the masthead of No Facilities.

The title is a bit of hyperbole. I can explain. This past Saturday, our daughter Faith and I were considering options for celebrating my birthday. We decided to hike along the Windsor Locks Canal. We did this last year at about this time, probably for the same reason. The reason I say it was the last chance, is because next Saturday, the canal path will be closed. Not the entire path, but the section we like to hike.

Some of you have heard this before. Feel free to skip to the gallery, or the next blog on your reading list, if you like. The reason the southern half will close is to give a nesting pair of bald eagles some privacy. The path will reopen on April 14th, unless the happy couple has created an eaglet. In that case, the path remains closed until the eaglet(s) fledge. Last year, the nest failed and the path opened in April. In 2019, the nest was a success, and the path didn’t reopen until mid-June.

The canal was built in the late 1820s and 1830s to allow shipping to avoid the rapids in the Connecticut River near Enfield. You can read more in one of my earlier posts if you like. The “path” was originally used by mules and horses to pull the canal boats through the canal. Today, the canal is maintained by Ahlstrom Corporation as a water source for a gas-fired co-generation power plant. The canal path is part of a State Park. All in all, it’s a good thing.

Saturday was a beautiful, unseasonably warm, bright sunny day. This gave me the opportunity to take my favorite kind of pictures – reflections. There was still enough fall color along the canal to make for some interesting images. And, on our way back to our car, for the first time ever, we saw the eagles. According to some of the birders that were on the scene, they (the eagles) appear to be rebuilding their nest.

The second part of my birthday celebration was a conference video call with Faith and my brother during which we watched the Pittsburgh Steelers barely eke out a win over what should have been a hapless and hobbled Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. That’s it for my weekend. I hope yours was a good one, and I hope you’re off to a great week.

By the way, this is my 1,500th post on this blog. I think it’s fitting that in includes family members and references to my old and new home towns. As always, thanks so much for visiting!


  1. Hi Dan – congratulations on your 1500 posts … as long as it’s not your 1,500th birthday?! Wonderful photos you’ve given us … no wonder you wanted to walk along the canal path … I hope the eagles breed successfully in 2020/21. Wonderful you’ve happily met this time of life – with some freedom ahead of you and more time … just enjoy your birthday celebrations and more of those wonderful Autumnal walks … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t sure I’d ever make 1,500 posts, Hilary. I’m pretty sure I won’t make 1,500 years old. I’m not even sure I’d want to. I’m happy to share these images, and I’m glad you like them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • When we were riding our bikes, it was a good place for a water break, GP. but it’s also an amazing structure. It’s also a bit ironic in that they had to build an extra truss bridge section to span the canal. When finished, the railroad put the canal out of business (at least for freight). Of course we got in the habit of snapping pictures, and…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A relaxing and beautiful walk. Happy birthday! … or was this a weekend celebration with your birthday being during the upcoming week? Oh … a Steelers fan …. so you probably instantly bonded with Mr. Howell.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What beautiful pictures! Love the eagle shot. I am impressed at the care they take of the pair. I am surprised they haven’t put up cameras to watch the nest. I followed an Osprey nest in Maine for years. It is pretty special to watch an egg hatch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pam. Once the canal is closed to the public, they have been known to put up an eagle-cam. As much as I love walking along the canal in the spring, when the water is high, I’d happily give it up if these guys are successful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful photos, Dan! Glad you and Faith were able to enjoy the Canal, the colorful trees and bald eagles. I love seeing eagles, they are truly majestic and always manage to give me goosebumps.

    I’m glad the Steelers won. Better than what the Packers didn’t do against a bottom of the division Vikings. I hope the Steelers keep rolling and the Packers shore up their defense so we can have that rematch in February.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mary. The Packers don’t need to shore up the defense too much, but I would love a rematch. For now, there are eight games left, and we have a hard road ahead. We still have four games against those pesky Heisman Trophy winning QBs in the AFC North.

      The canal is such a fun place to walk. We used to ride our bikes there, but neither Faith nor I are comfortable on bikes at this point. I keep hoping to find an answer to that, perhaps a new bike in the spring, but walking will do for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on the longevity of your blog, Dan. That is quite an accomplishment. I love the connection you have with Faith. It reminds me a lot of time with my father. The photos are lovely and the capture of the eagles is impressive! Looks to have been a rather grand weekend to wrap up birthday celebrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on your 1500th post. Also, Happy Birthday. Your photos are terrific. I agree that the Steelers should have killed the cowboys. Their new Quarterback seemed to breathe some new life into them. Have a great week. Oh yeah. WVU played okay but no cigar.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 1500 posts is a lot, Dan. I deleted a large number of my old posts and pictures at the beginning of lockdown because I was running out of photograph space. I am glad you had such a nice birthday. The nesting birds are a good reason to close the path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kept seeing the post count going up, but I wasn’t sure I’d get this far. I know other bloggers who post more often than I do, they probably have this milestone in their rear view mirror, but I thought it was significant. I’ve increased the frequency of my posts sine I began blogging, but I’m at the limit of my ability now. On the odd occasion that I post five times in a week, it throws me off balance.

      I agree that the nesting pair is worth sacrificing a couple months of trail access. I wish them success.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, those pictures! I particularly like the one of downed trees at an angle with their reflection making a diamond shape. Our fall color is pretty much gone, so I really appreciate seeing the bright beauty in your part of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like you enjoyed your birthday celebration. Good on you! So nice to see Faith and her beautiful smile. Just love the photo of the turtles. Everything combined, the photo has the feel of a fairy tale. The Eagles are awesome. Sure hope they are successful in starting a family.

    Maddie’s feathers are just glowing in the sun. The tree diamond is wonderful.

    Congratulations on 1500 posts. My eighth grade English teacher always told me she loved my essays but I was “too wordy”! Lol.

    Hope you have a great week ahead of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a great day, Ginger. The weather was perfect and there was enough color left to make the view stunning.

      I wasn’t sure I would ever get to this many posts, but I hesitate to think what your eighth grade English teacher would think of my writing ;-)

      I hope you have a good week, too.


  10. What gorgeous images! What a fortuitous moment to see the pair of eagles! 👏🏻👏🏻Of course I am rooting fir a successful mating and nesting. Fall is such a perfect time for photos. So beautiful. It’s good to see Faith too. I’m glad your team win too. Win win for the birthday! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Okay, I’m late because I’ve been so scatter-brained today, but I’m so glad I got here this evening! Dan the images are purely stunning. OMG, you even got photos of the eagles. I’m impressed. Yes, the diamond is uber cool. Just wow. I really enjoyed these. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

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