Tag Archives: waterfalls

Ender’s Falls (Granby, CT)

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Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: Rte 219, Granby, CT (about 25 mins northwest of Hartford, CT, 30 mins southwest of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There is a large parking area for about a couple dozens cars next to the trail

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: Yes

Trail Size/Difficulty: .8 miles round trip, easy

Fitbit Stats: 5,848 steps, 2.41 miles, 668 calories burned

Website: Ender’s Falls

Highlights: waterfalls, scenic, flowers

Tips:

  • When entering the park, go to the left to see the waterfalls
  • Watch for and follow the pink tags on the trees to stay on the easiest, most traveled trail
  • the rocks by the waterfall can be slippery, especially in the morning or after a rainfall
  • the best times to visit is after a rainfall or in early spring when the snow and ice on the stream are melting
  • Fishing and swimming (more on this later) are allowed at the falls

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Part of the 2,000 acre Ender’s Fall State Forest, the waterfalls at Ender’s Falls is one of the most photographed and highly regarded waterfalls in all of Connecticut, if not New England.  Although I enjoyed the falls at Wadsworth Park, I think I would agree.

There are 5 waterfalls at Ender’s Falls.

The hardest part of photographing Ender’s Falls is finding the waterfalls.  Some are pretty easy to find, particularly the first one at the end of the entrance to the park.

However, due to how the sound travels and the lack of ability to view some of the stream from higher ground, it’s hard to determine what may be a gushing waterfall and what is just the sound of water running along the stream.

And, let’s talk about the paths to the stream.  Due to the steep decline of the terrain and the fact it had rained the previous day, it was no joke going down the side of the trail to get to the stream.  So, while the main trail on higher ground is easy with some moderate inclines and a few downed trees, if you choose to travel closer to the stream, it can be difficult.  In fact, I stumbled upon this news story about the dangers of the trails at the park.  But, I’m a trained professional.  So, I was alright.  Follow the pink tags to stay on the trail.

The rocks and trees by the waterfalls have some amusing, interesting and heartfelt graffiti on them.

The graffiti in the first photo (top left) on a rock high above the stream refers to track number 4 on the self titled “Third Eye Blind” cd.  I’ll let you Google that for a sec.  Even the casual Third Eye Blind Fan knows what the song is.  The second and third photos (going clockwise) include a phrase that refers to a TLC song.  You get it.

Ender’s Falls is a truly beautiful place, particularly with summer quietly coming to a close and fall starting to make an entrance.  There truly is nothing more beautiful in New England than the blending of these two seasons.  I love it and I look forward to more colorful photo shoots in the upcoming weekends!

My only gripe is how the trail at Ender’s falls just seems to stop at both ends of the trail.  And, to be fair, it’s not just something that I have noticed at Ender’s Falls.  In fact, it’s fairly common.  Due to the developments in the area and the obvious barriers such as roadways that have been constructed, the trails just seem to end without warning.  I can only imagine they went on for much longer distances in the past.  At least at the end of the trail to the right of the entrance stops at the bridge, giving you some warning ahead of time.  There is a narrrow path in the brush at one end.  But, it didn’t seem to go anywhere.

When you can get down to the stream safely, I do recommend it, though.  The closer view does offer some pretty views.

Ender’s Falls is a great place to take your pooch.  But, it may be too rocky and difficult terrain for some older dogs.

Gemma is a 3 month old Black Labrador.

Below are some videos of the mighty waterfalls:

This is a video posted by YouTuber Just Living  who is clearly braver (or crazier) than I am!


Stanley Park 2017 (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 31 & June 2, 2017

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA

Hours:

Official Season: Open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily(1/2 hour before sunset) from the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November.

Off-Season: Gate 1, across from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center, is open year-round from 7:00 am until dusk daily, weather permitting. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.

Cost: Free

Parking: During the “official season” from around early May until the end of November, there are two parking areas with ample parking (probably room for 300 or more cars) .  During the off season, the second parking lot is closed.

Size/Trail Difficulty: 300 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly:Yes

Highlights: sports fields, play area, pond, trails, flower garden, fountain, sculptures, covered bridge, birds, wildlife, ample parking

Website: Stanley Park

Map: Stanley Park Map

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If you read the title of this blog post and thought thought to yourself, “Hey you’ve already posted about this place” you would be correct.  I visited Stanley Park in June, 2015 but I was told, incorrectly, by a park worker that I was not allowed to take photos there with paying a fee first.  So, I was only able to use a few photos from my original visit and I had tp use my camera phone for the remainder of the photos and they did not come out very good.  So, I decided to take another trip to the park last week.  If you do want to see my original post you can access it here:  Stanley Park in 2015.

Named after Frank Stanley Beveridge, Stanley Park, Stanley Park is one of the most popular parks in Western MA.  Throughout the year they hold various memorial services  for veterans, musical shows and even a road race among other events.  But, Stanley Park is also a great to play to visit to get away from people and just have a peaceful hike along the many trails there or to just sit and watch the various wildlife that inhabit the park.

Originally from Pembroke Shores, Nova Scotia, Frank Stanley Beveridge would go on to create the company Stanley Home Products after immigrating to the states and eventually settling in Westfield, MA.  Because of his love if nature and its inhabitants, he would establish Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. on twenty-five acres of land in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Since then it has grown exponentially but it has still kept the same natural beauty.

The first thing that stood out to me while visiting Stanley Park are the colors, particularly during the spring summer and especially during the fall foliage season.  Whether it is the variety of birds at the park, the colorful flowers and green grass or the Koi fish in the pond, the colors were really popping at Stanley.

One of the things Stanley Park is most known for is its population of black squirrels.  Since they are not indigenous to the area, their origins have often been a matter of curious debate.  No, they weren’t dropped off by aliens nor did they travel to the park as part of a family vacation.

The black squirrels are actually from Michigan.  They were gifts from former Stanley Home Products sales managers, Hubert L. Worell and Alvah (Al) Elzerman.  They were brought there in 1948 and their population has steadily increased.  As you can see, they are very well fed.

There is a soccer/lacrosse field, basketball court and play area for children in the main parking area.  You can also access the Beveridge Nature Sanctuary Trail from the parking area.  The Sanctuary Trail is 229 acres of easy trails with some gentle inclines.

Stanley Park is home to a variety of blue jays, cardinals, ducks, geese and other birds s well as frogs and turtles.

One of the best places at Stanley Park is the area behind the pond at the entrance.  Chipmunks, squirrels, birds and other critters stop by in the hopes of some nuts or other treats from passing visitors.  In fact, when I walked over to the area chipmunks actually came out from hiding to greet me, in the hopes I might have some snacks for them.  They weren’t disappointed.

You can even hand feed them.

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Stanley Park also has a garden area with roses, rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowers and pretty trees.

There is also a covered bridge at Stanley Park.  Even though it only allows foot traffic the Goodrich Bridge is still bridge and it is indeed covered.  It is one of the 13 wooden covered bridges in Massachusetts.  I never really considered it an actual covered bridge since it is not on a roadway or sidewalk.  But, it does meet the criteria.

An old blacksmith building is located near the bridge.

There is a mill by the pond and a couple of waterfalls.

 

There are also several memorials and monuments at Stanley Park.

This Veteran’s Memorial is dedicated to all of those in Westfield who have served.  Black plaques on the ground list the names of the people from Westfield who have died while serving.

This memorial, Our Lady Of Fatima, was dedicated in September 1952 to Otto Bono Calegari, a Westfield native who was killed during the Korean Conflict.  The memorial was handcrafted by Otto’s father, Rocco Calegari.

The Carillon Tower is located near the gardens.  Completed in 1950, the tower tower was dedicated to world peace.  From time to time, the bells of the Carillon are rung at the tower as part of their Carillon Tower ceremonies.  The bronze doors are decorated with 14 relief sculptures portraying various aspects of the Park and Stanley Home Products, as well as profiles of Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien.

The map in front of the tower measures 23 feet by 30 feet, and is composed of multicolored New York slate.

The Angel of Independence was a gift from Stanley Home Products sales persons from Mexico on October 25, 1958. The monument is a Replica of the statue Placido de lareforma in Mexico City which stands for Liberty and Freedom. The base is Vermont Marble and stands 30 feet tall.

I couldn’t find much information about this statue except that it is referred to as the “Children With Umbrella” statue.  It is a fairly new addition as far as I can tell.

There are also dinosaur tracks at Stanley Park.  Tracks that are said to be over 100 million years old.  The tracks are actually from the Carlton Nash Quarry South Hadley (MA).

There are two fountains at Stanley.  They are both located in the garden area and near the entrance by Gate 2.

I saw someone riding this cute bicycle at Stanley and she was kind enough too let me photograph it.  I especially liked the bell she would ring from time to time as she rode it.

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There is so much beauty at Stanley Park.  Just the way the trees bend and the views from the upper level where the garden is located to the duck ponds and the bridges that are scattered throughout the park are sights to behold.

Stanley Park is a great place to bring your dog, although he or she may want to chase or make friends with the ducks and geese there.

I met Duke, a 1 year old rescue, while I was walking along the Sanctuary Trail.  He was such a friendly guy!

.Biscuit, or Bubba, a 5 year old Bulldog and Mastiff was enjoying a walk along the boardwalk .  Her fur was so soft!

As the clouds came rolling in, it was evident it was time to leave.

This is video of the hail storm that followed shortly after we left.

To view videos like the one above and other content I do not share on this blog, please connect with me on Facebook.  I hope to see you there!

 


Rattlesnake Gutter (Leverett, MA)

 

Dates of Visits: May 27 & 29, 2017

Location: 16 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd, Leverett, MA

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is not a designated parking area.  But, there is an area to park by the front gate on the side of the road on Guttersnake Rd

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.93 miles (Rattlesnake Gutter trail) with connecting loops and other trails that can add a significant amount of distance to your hike.  Easy too moderate trails.

Handicapped Accessible: No.  The terrain is rocky with some steep inclines

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit Stats: 3.45 miles, 711 calories, 8,027 steps

Highlights: chasm, wildlife, easy to moderate trails, art, unique rock formations, ponds

Website: Rattlesnake Gutter Trust

Trail Map: Rattlesnake Gutter Trail Map

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Don’t let the name scare you.  There really aren’t any, or at least not many, rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.  Legend has it rattlesnakes once did populate the area.  But, due mostly to a concerted effort to rid the area of these snakes, you’e rarely see a rattlesnake there.

I actually had to make two visits to this trail because some of the photos on one of memory cards were not saved.  Yeah, okay, twist my arm.  I’ll go again, I figured to myself.

Before you even reach the trail, there is an interesting find in a field at the entrance of Rattlesnake Gutter Rd.  A group of bee hives sat under a tree in a pretty field while what looked like a falcon soared high above.

The trail is known more for the chasm that runs through most of the main trail from the Rattlesnake Gutter Rd entrance.  The trail is described as a boulder that runs 3/4 mile long and 1/8 mile wide.  It produces a lot of pool-like streams between the rocky edges.

There are also several pools of water along the trail with some frogs and other aquatic animals.

Between the rocky sides there is a roughly mile trail with several mini waterfall-like streams and a very long way down if you’re not careful.

The dirt trails are easy to moderate in some areas due to the somewhat strenuous inclines in some areas.  At least they were strenuous to a middle aged hiking novice.

The origins of the chasm are unclear.  Some theories include a sub glacial melt water channel or a tear at the site of an old geologic fault.  Another theory suggests it was caused by a spillway for a temporary pro glacial lake.  I would go with the last one.  Just because I like to say “pro glacial.”  In any event, the rocks show the aftermath of some major event.

Unexpectedly, we found some art along the rocks.

It’s not known who created this art or why.  But, it is pretty cool.  You know how if you look at a photo or rock long enough, you can see other images?  Well, to the right of the tree in the photo below just above the greenery and boulder in the right hand corner of the photo, there appears to be possibly the outline of a cat’s face (you may have to tilt your head to see it). Or, maybe I’ve just drank too much caffeine and I’m seeing things.   It could just be the way the rocks appear from the weather and erosion.

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We took the main guttersnake trail to the connector loop to Whitney Rd.  The connecting loop is hard to find.  It is actually a trail made into the side of the hill on the trail that was made into a zig zag design. I wouldn’t have probably found it if I hadn’t noticed someone walking down what looked like the side of a hill.

The Whitney Trail looks a little confusing at first (make sure to follow the red marked trees).  But, after a short distance, there will be signs and maps that will help you stay on the trail.  That is one of the unusual things about this trail.  There are several maps posted throughout the trail.  There are alternate routes you can take if you have the time and curiosity.  While I am always curious, I didn’t the time.  So, I stayed on the Whitney Rd trail.  This intersection of trails can take you farther into different sections of the trail system.  But, as time was a factor, I was unable to explore more.

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Whitney Rd is just that, a road.  There are some pretty houses, cute decor and signs as well as beautiful landscapes along this part of the trail.

There were also some interesting rock formations and pretty trees along the way.

Along Whitney Rd, on the left of the trail we saw am empty area with tall trees and what looked like an overlook.  To our surprise, we found what looked like an area for parties or other events.  A van with speakers and what looked like an audio system was parked in the area.  There was also a table with chairs and jug of some kind of adult concoction and some other artistic designs.

Rattlesnake Gutter is the perfect place to take your dog.  Although, I would only recommend it for a “fit” dog, as I would recommend it for a “fit” person since the inclines can be deceivingly steep in some places.

These dogs had no problem with the trail.

Huckleberry is a rescue from Mississippi.

Luna is a 3 year old rescue.

Below are two videos of the streams at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.


Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown, CT)

Date Visited: May 7, 2016

Location: 701 Wadsworth St, Middletown, CT or Cherry Hill Rd, Middlefield, CT

Cost:   When I went to visit, it was free.  I think they begin charging a fee starting Memorial Day weekend.  There is no fee entrance fee during the weekdays.  It costs CT residents $9 and it costs non Connecticut residents $15 to get in to the park during the weekend.  You also may be able to access the park for free at the Cherry Hill Rd entrance.

Hours: Open everyday from sunrise until night time.

Parking:  There are about 30 parking spots at the main entrance at Wadsworth St and another 20 or so at the Cherry Hill Rd entrance in Middlefield (pictured below)

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We entered at the main entrance on Wadsworth St.  There is a sandy beach area (there is a lifeguard on duty during the summer season).  Since it was an overcast and chilly day, there weren’t any people swimming but there were a lot of birds congregating near the water.

The highlight of the park, of course, are the falls.  The two waterfalls at Wadsworth Falls are creatively named “Little Falls” and “Big Falls.”

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Once you get on the main trail, you will eventually see the sign for the falls (after about a 3/4 to one mile hike).  From this sign, it is about a half mile hike to the Little Falls and a mile hike to Big Falls  if you enter from the entrance on Wadsworth St.  There are also lots of trails that branched off the main trail and would be fun to explore if you have the time.

You can avoid the longer hike by parking on Cherry Hill Rd.  Big Falls is accessible from a short walk down a well defined path from the lot on Cherry Hill Rd.  But, the parking lot at Cherry Hill Rd is smaller than the lot on Wadsworth St.

Little Falls is actually a pretty big fall, even if it isn’t the biggest one at the park.  But, the height of this waterfall may actually surpass the height of Big Falls.  The last few shots in the slideshow are from our trek back to the main parking lot.  The falls seemed much less rapid on our way back and you can see the ledges of the falls better.

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There are a few different ways to get to Big Falls, the main attraction.  The safest, but longest way, is to follow the trail until you reach the edge of the park which filters onto Cherry Hill Rd.  The park is a short walk on a sidewalk to the right.  Or, you can cross the railroad tracks and follow trail along the tracks for quicker access.  There really isn’t a defined trail but there is space to walk a safe distance from the tracks.  The railroad is still in operation but we didn’t see any trains while we were there.

There are two places I photographed the waterfalls from but there are probably even more places to view the waterfalls.  The first place is a little tricky to get to and potentially dangerous.  There is a path that goes off the trail across the tracks and up to ta cliff that offers some decent views of the waterfall.  I did take some photographs from there but I would bypass it and go to the parking area of the entrance on Cherry Hill Rd to get a safer, closer and less obstructed view of the waterfalls.  The first two photos are from the cliff area the rest are views from the entrance to the park.

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From the main entrance on Wadsworth St it is about 1.5 mile hike to the falls and it is a 3.4 mile trail loop to walk the entire park.  There were bicyclists, walkers and other photographers along the trail.  Because of the inclines and, in some areas, rocky terrain, it would be a challenging place to go for a run.  I would describe the trails as being easy to slightly moderate because of the inclines and rocky trails.

There are also pretty trees, bridges, plants, brooks and streams along the trails.

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There was a lot of bird activity at Wadsworth Falls such as this male red-winged blackbird.

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There are a variety of bird life at Wadsworth including bats.  This is a bat house.  It was built and maintained as part of an Eagle Scout project to help restore the bat population.  It was good to see that it’s not only the cute animals that are being helped.

Toads and other amphibious life is also abundant at Wadsworth State Park.  It was still pretty cold out so these toads seemed out of sorts.  We gently picked them up and tried to find a warmer place for them under some leaves.

Leashed dogs are allowed at Wadsworth State Park.  It is a great place for dogs to play and roam around.   Caesaris (pronounced Kay-sar-is), a friendly 1 year old female Labrador and Australian Sheep Dog, enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather with his mom.

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Below are some videos I took of the falls.  The power, crispness and sound is much more evident in the videos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Natural Bridge State Park (North Adams, MA)

The bridges of Western Massachusetts are not just the ones you see on the roadways. But, don’t let the name fool you.  The Natural Bridge State Park has so much more to offer.

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Before you reach the natural bridge, a brook greets you at the entrance.

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Formed through series of continental collisions, erosion and the meltwaters caused by the Ice Age, the natural marble bridge is the only one of its kind in North America.

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Deep crevices and chasms were carved through the years of erosion and warming and cooling.

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The only marble bridge in North America, the natural bridge in North Adams is located just off the The Mohawk Trail. 

Adding to the beauty of the natural bridge, the park has a waterfall.

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The Natural Bridge State Park also has impressive views of the bridge and the park it overlooks.

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There are many flowers, trees, rocks, bridges (a bridge on a bridge of all things) and even David’s Bench that give the Natural Bridge State Park a special charm.

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During our travels, we met Sasha.

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Just as you think you’ve seen all the Natural Bridge State Park has to offer there is a small park area atop the walking bridge.  Statues and other structures made from the materials mined from the one time quarry rest along the top of the lofty bridge.  It capped off a perfect visit.

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Chester-Blandford State Forest (Chester, MA)

After photographing a variety of mountainous, rocky state parks, I thought it was time to mix it up and visit a rocky, hilly waterfall.  Initially, we planned on visiting CM Gardner State Park.  But, the helpful park rangers at CM Gardner suggested something more picturesque, Chester-Blandford State Forest.

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Since it encompasses such a large area (over 2,700 acres), Chester-Blandford has several entrances.  The first part of the park we arrived at, Boulder Park, is a rather small area with a pond and a few ill defined trails.  But, right from the rocky steps and mossy trails at the entrance it has a unique charm.

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The trails also have some unique walkways and structures.

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The highlight of the park may be the deep opening off the main trail.

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Boulder Rock also has some eye catching plants and wild life.

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The pond near the end of the main trail was a nice surprise.

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Boulder Rock also had its share of wildlife such as this salamander and mouse.

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Alas, our trip to Boulder Rock was over.  But, about a mile down the road another entrance beckoned us, the main entrance to the Sanderson Brooks Falls trail of Chester-Blandford.

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Pitcuresque views are scattered along the Brooks Falls trail.

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Due to the lack of rain recently, the rapids weren’t very, well, rapid.  But, the relatively still water and rocky brook provided some good shots.

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Sanderson Brook Falls also had a fair share of wildlife such as caterpillars,

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Toads

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and dogs, like Loona.

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After a roughly half an hour trek along some rocky terrain, a number of bridges and some steep inclines, I made it to the falls.   DSC_0338  DSC_0340   DSC_0354  DSC_0352 DSC_0351  DSC_0344  DSC_0341

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The brooks and falls are sure to be more active during the stormy seasons.  But, it is still impressive and worth the trip.

To get the full effect of the falls, click on the short video below.

Is there anywhere in the New England area you would like me to visit?

What are some of your favorite waterfalls?

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