Friday, July 25, 2014
Photos and text by Kevin Gutting
Puffer’s Pond, created by a 19th-century dam on the Mill River and located in the heart of North Amherst, offers a cool and popular respite from summer’s heat.
Among those spending time there Saturday afternoon was Amherst native Cynthia Lowen, now of New York, who was paddling her packraft on its maiden voyage. “We used to come here to swim all the time,” she said. “It’s a place where everyone from the community gathers. You see young people, families, students from UMass and people who live nearby that go swimming every morning.”
Isaac Hare Steig, one of those locals, said he swims across the 11-acre pond, between the two beaches, almost every day.
A trail leads from the South Beach to the North Beach, which is also known as “the dog side,” where dogs play and are allowed to swim before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. On the trail last Saturday was a trio of herpetologists photographing a musk turtle sunning itself. Having already spotted a water snake and snapping turtle, Mike Howlett of Boston remarked, “Puffer’s Pond turned out to be a jackpot.”