Chapman Falls After Ida

A few days after Post-Tropical Cyclone Ida brought heavy rain and massive flooding to the state, we decided to check out the Chapman Falls at Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam.

A roaring waterfall full of white foam in the woods.
Chapman Falls, Devil’s Hopyard State Park

The Chapman Falls were, of course, roaring. A swollen, rushing, turbulent outpouring of water. And no surprise what with Ida dropping a little over four inches of rain in the area after Henri dropping a similar amount the week before. I’ve visited the park probably twenty times in my life and never have I seen the falls looking so impressive.

A circular pothole along the rugged stones of Chapman Falls.
A pothole along Chapman Falls.

There are many legends surrounding the deep, cylindrical potholes found around the falls. One attributes them to the Devil, angrily jumping up and down after he got his tail wet in the Eightmile River. Another says the Devil jumped across the Atlantic and landed at the falls. And another that a man named Dibble grew hops in a field below the falls and “Dibble’s hop yard” became, after many years of linguistic drift, Devil’s Hopyard.

More prosaically, the potholes are likely caused by the simple magic of erosion. Over thousands of years, small rocks and sand became caught up in the fall’s eddies, scouring the rocks forming the falls.

A narrow ribbon of a waterfall full of white foam in the woods
“Mini” Falls (possibly also called “The Flume” or “Dry Falls”) Devil’s Hopyard State Park

The Eightmile River is a major tributary of the Connecticut River and a significant waterway within the Eightmile River Watershed which includes more than 150 miles of healthy rivers and streams.

Eightmile River, Devil’s Hopyard State Park