Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yes I have hiked in the past year....

Ok, so it took me some time to write another post about our hiking adventures, and I will start with the most recent and go backwards.
This past weekend we went hiking at Devil's Hopyard in East Haddam, CT.
Short Blurb from  "A search for the origin of the name "Devil's Hopyard" reveals a wide variety of different stories; none of them are verifiable and all are likely to be more fiction than fact. One of the most popular of these stories is about a man named Dibble, who had a garden for growing hops used in the brewing of beer. It seems that through usage, Dibble's Hopyard became Devil's Hopyard. There are records of several farmers having hopyards in the area, but there is no mention of a landowner named Dibble."

It was a great hike filled with lots of things to see and keep the interest of two active boys,
one who really does not like long hikes. Caves, waterfalls, ledges, a covered bridge, stone tunnel, and hemlock groves, along with great views through out this one short hike.
Here we are at the Devils Oven (Cave) Off of the Orange Trail
 A Beautiful Covered bridge down stream from The Falls which is a great starting point for two shorter hikes, the Orange Trail and the smaller Blue Trail, both are loop trails which makes it a nice trip.


There were Great Water Falls, that can be viewed from both sides with a walkway bridge above them. I guess we are lucky to see them with water, many people commented how there is never water when they visit.


A great tunnel with stalactites forming inside.
Our kids also saw the results of a Brush Fire, and how many of the trees were damaged, while some trees in the same area were untouched.  A great teachable moment. Read about the brush fire at link below.
We hiked almost 3miles and saw many great things, had all sorts of hiking levels, from hands &  knees, uphill to slow down near a rambling stream.  I would recommend this hike to anyone with kids or a dog (by the way our 10 month old beagle did great on this hike).  Parking was free, the park was easy to find, and after noon it did get busy. If you are looking for  Below are some links that I tought might be helpful in planning your own adventure to Devil's Hopyard.

Great link to find the park and read about its history - State of CT Site

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gillette Castle State Park

Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, CT
Today we hiked a trail around the Gillette Castle. It was a good hike with the kids. They really enjoyed the walk to the Connecticut River around the the Castle and then around the gardens and property. There was a great Frog pond with thousands of Lilly Pads, and 80% of the pads had frogs sunning themselves.
The Castle it self is an extra fee to go in, but had amazing history and a very unique story behind it, click here for the story
We were able to bring our picnic lunch and enjoy a sunny afternoon overlooking the CT River. There was a snack bar that was open, and a public restroom (thank goodness).
The Boys with a view of the Connecticut River Behind them,
sometimes you could see the ferry boat crossing or the
river cruise pointing up to the Castle.
One of many stone bridges that were built for the small railroad
that circled William Gillette's Property.
The Boys at the Frog Pond
One of many great views of the Castle Walls

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Glacial Boulders - Shenipsit Central - Blue-Blazed Trails

Today we hiked Glacial Boulders (blue-blazed) trail located in or near Hebron and Glastonbury, CT off Birch Mountain Road.  This trail is part of the Shenipsit Central Trail, off Case Mountain in Hebron/Bolton.

(The Shenipsit Trail is marked by blue rectangular blazes. It is part of the blue-blazed trail system maintained by the CFPA. Founded in 1929, the CFPA has created and maintained 825 miles of blue-blazed trails in the state of Connecticut.[3] Wikipedia

Ferns along our route

The trail book we have brought us to a small road off  rt85 near the large houses that dot the old apple orchards of Glastonbury.  But as we found out very quickly, that Blue-Blazed trail was moved, because people did not like hikers and bikers near their homes. 

So we backtracked to Birch Mountain Road and packed near the Cell/Weather towers on the right hand side of the road. Once parked the four of us crossed and back to the Blue-Blazed trail.  The hike started off nice and level and followed old stonewalls.  With in the first few minutes we found budding ferns and a nice clean walking trail.

Map from our guild book
The boys (9 & 6) did real well following the well marked Blue-blazed trail markers.  Our first major trail sight were the power lines, in which we walked under and were passed by two runners.  I have to mention during the whole 4 mile hike we saw less than 12 other people, some riding mountain bikes, some trail running, walking their dogs and all were pleasant and being the hikers we stayed to one side for the bikers.

After we walked under the powerlines, we saw three trails branch off the Red Trail, the blue & white trail and the blue trail...we stuck with the blue trail, and I am glad we did because we found some of our first garnets buried in silvery boulders.  It was such a cool sight for the boys to see tiny gems sticking out from the silvery rocks, alongside stripes of granite both white and pink in color.  Both the boys were excited to see the garnets and tried hard to dig them out of the rocks.  After seeing these our hike went upward, it was a bit of an incline and the boys were troopers.

The path continued to follow sheets of rock that coated the ground
all the way to the Glacial Boulder.  It almost looked like a sidewalk.  The boulder, was one of the largest rocks that we have seen, and the boys all tried to climb it, but failed to reach the top of the largest rock (pictured here).

The rest of the walk offered many views from Pine Ledge were great and it was suggested as a nice place to stop for lunch, which we did.  It was shaded and flat.  Through the trees you might be able to see Hartford and Manchester, but the leaves were pretty full.  We continued onto Garnet Ledge which was the 2 mile point and at this point we turned around and followed the Blue/White Blazed trail back to the car.  We were glad we did because along the way the boys spied larger garnets, many were the size of peas, and were loose from the larger stones.  Pockets were filled and legs were getting tired, so we continued on and finally decided to use the gps/map app on Troys phone and found a route to Birch Mountain Road.

Once the road was insight, the boys were happy to see that the hike was coming to an end.  But before finding the road mom and dad make the commitment to get ice cream on the way home.  So this was even more of an incentive to finish without more complaining.

This was a great hike and very doable for our family and I am looking forward to doing it again this fall, because starting out early when it is cooler out was one thing that helped make this enjoyable.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mashamoquet Brook State Park -

Mashamoquet Brook State Park  - Pretty simple last minute sunday afternoon hike in Putnam CT

This was a bit Different from the Mashamoquet Wold Den / Indian Chair hike we took a year ago. It was a flat hike along the brook, and included a few minutes of rock skipping.  Always an adventure with boys who love to pick up rocks, stones, glass, leaves and pretty much anything else they find underfoot.  I even found a piece of bone from an animal that I think was from the hip of the creature.

Mashamoquet Brook State Park website:

Here are some of the photos from our hike:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

East Coast Greenway - Andover CT

Trevor near one of the signs that marks the trail in Andover CT. 
We parked in the parking lot behind the local church and used the crosswalk to enter the Trail to Trail path.  All clearly marked.

Grave yard behind the church across from the hiking trail.  Beautiful old stones with lots of history. 
The boys really enjoied looking at each stone and seeing the dates.  Back to the early 1800's

View of the Church on Rt 6 Andover CT from the trail.

Trevor, Dylan and Troy walking the once Railroad trail.
Along this route we saw a few thing slike small streams and skunk cabbage (YUCK)!!

Reminders of what used to be - the telephone poles that remain along the walking/riding path.
As much as we wanted to walk further today we just brought a lunch and sat along the path and enjoied lunch, then we walked back to the car.  I am hoping next time we can walk longer on this trail. For more information on locations and what part of this trail might be in your state check out the East Coast Greenway website:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wolf Rock Nature Preserve - Joshua's Trust (Mansfield CT) 3/7/10

Wolf Rock - Great Place for the Kids to walk - some fun overlooks that can take your breath away from the height and the view!  This hike was early spring so it was still cool and the trees were still lacking their leaves which was nice to see for miles around toward the West and South.

There were many great things to see along the trail and it was well marked
with Yellow trail and part of the Blue Dot Trail that intertwined. 
The trail that we took (mainly yellow) was about 1.5 miles and easy for the boys to do.
We ventured into a stream, up on boulders, over stick bridges and saw signs of lots of wild life.

Link here for some more details on this site.

(Top) Boys at first large Boulder

On top of Wolf Rock right above a very steep ledge!  Would not find me up there!

(Top) Ring left behind by the tower that once stood here ontop of the Ledge!

Troy showing off his muscles between to large rocks!
one of the markings for the yellow trail!

Great bridge - did not move a lick!  It was awesome!