So easy…

To put off the things you enjoy doing for the things that appear urgent, not necessarily important, and to be detoured by little things like the weather. After all why couldn’t, wouldn’t you hike in the rain. Well maybe not in 50º temps and 20 knot winds. But, you must get my drift. Yes, I’m talking about this blog and walks and hikes in and about Ledyard, SE Connecticut, and further afield.

So there’s a walk scheduled for December 7th. I hope to see you there.

A Little Remiss…

Well, it has been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog. The fact that our last attempted hike was aborted because of a trail I’d planned on using needed maintenance isn’t a good excuse. Primarily because I did contact the organization about the trail and volunteered to do the clearing, which they accepted, and I did. It needs a touch up again, which I’ll be taking care of one day this coming week.

So, look forward, check back, be curious… This will be an active blog. I look forward to walking/hiking with you.

Spring is here, so…

Spring is here, so we’re probably all busy getting yards and gardens cleaned up and ready for the year. Here I’m busy making over my gardening and yardening after taking the UConn Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener course last year. Layered on top of that is all that I’m learning from volunteering at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center’s Giving Garden at Coogan Farm in Mystic about no-till-no-dig and bionutrient intensive farming.

So instead of cutting back on other activities, like this blog, I’m going to be ramping up my use of social media. Specifically, LedyardWalks will become more outdoors, nature oriented. As that happens there may some format changes as this evolves.

The walks will not change, my Pancake Breakfast Walk on the 1st Saturday of every month will continue. I’ll also be doing additional walks in Southeastern Connecticut, and nearby Rhode Island.

If you have a particular walk, or topic, you’d like to see covered in LedyardWalks let me know through the comments.

And, thanks for wayfaring

Early spring, Common Merganser male.

with me.

Saturday’s Pancake Breakfast Walk…

While there may be rain overnight Friday into Saturday we’re still walking the trail at Poquetanuck Cove Preserve. This Nature Conservancy property offers an interesting variety of terrain, habitat, geology. The trail is an out and back with a terminal loop before the return.

You can preview the hike here: White Blaze Trail

Its an easy to moderate walk of just under 2 miles. We should be able to complete it at just about 1 hour. Wear sturdy shoes since this can be a rocky, root infested terrain at times. We’ll also have a fairly steep narrow trail around the mid-point of the walk, and this section of trail can prove slippery after a rain fall… Or, during a rain fall. So have your foul weather gear ready as well.

We’ll meet and leave from the Ledyard Congregational Church Pancake Breakfast at 9:30 sharp. There is limited parking at the preserve so we’ll be carpooling from the breakfast. It’s a free breakfast of more than just pancakes and coffee (NO Facilities on the hike!!) although a free will donation won’t be refused.

If this is your first walk with me please make sure you read and understand the guidelines and the assumption of responsibility and release of liability (Before We Hike, Safety Guidelines).

Colonel Ledyard Park Success…

After two postponements we finally got the Colonel Ledyard Park Loop Trail walked yesterday. The dusting of snow that we had Friday night was essentially melted away before we started the walk.

Some of the wheel ruts were wet enough that we had to go off trail to get around them. Several of the springs along the trail were flowing pretty strongly, also creating pools of water in the downstream low spots on the trail.

One of the points of interest on the hike were the remains of the Randall Holdridge (1808-1885) house. There’s still the dug well and three stone walls that possibly formed the foundation for the house. A Girl Scout project to mark and provide information help make this trail more interesting.

The next scheduled hike will be the Pancake Breakfast Hike on April 6th. We’ll leave from Ledyard Congregational Church, come early if you want a free, or good will donation, breakfast before we leave at 9:30. We’ll need to carpool since there will be limited parking at the hike site.

Colonel Ledyard Park Walk…

A check this afternoon of the weather forecast for Saturday shows extended rain from Friday through the night and into Saturday morning. I’m still walking…

But will definitely be in waterproof footwear and rain gear. Temps will probably be a little cooler but it could warm up quickly if the sun comes out earlier than currently forecast. Make sure you’re dressed in layers and can adjust your comfort level with changes in the weather.

Other than that, the walk is still on and I’ll see you at Colonel Ledyard Park pavilion for our 9:30 a.m. start.

Short hike, short notice…

If you can make it I’ll be walking the Colonel Ledyard (FKA: Blonder’s) Park loop trail. This is the hike that was previously delayed by a bug and some snow.

I’ll be starting from the Colonel Ledyard Park pavilion at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23rd. There are some rough spots on the trail and depending on Thursday’s weather there could be some water and mud. The trail is 1.3-1.5 miles but you’ll still need to dress warmly since lows Friday night will be in the 30ºs.

Be sure to read the guidelines, on the About page, if you plan on joining me Saturday.

I’m looking forward to walking with you and it’ll be a great warm up for the Pancake Breakfast walk on Saturday, April 6th.

Avery Preserve, East & West

The Avery Preserve is located on Avery Hill Road to the North of its intersection with Route 214. There is a small, rocky, parking area on the East side of Avery Hill Road, opposite the entrance to the West side of Avery Preserve. The trail for the East side of the preserve begins in the rear left corner of the parking area. You can download and print a guide to hiking trails, including a map of the West Avery Preserve from Ledyard Parks & Rec., located at the bottom of their activities page.

East Avery Preserve
This portion has one loop trail and off of that a short side trail from which you can access Avery Hill Road and connect to West Avery Preserve or return to the parking lot. This portion of the preserve is primarily wetland and today was definitely wet and soggy. The trails here are not blazed and the loop trail fades out after you pass over a small unnamed brook that feeds into Billings-Avery brook.

While difficult and wet in the spring this is still worth exploring. There are lots of signs of deer throughout the wetlands and there is also a significant stand of giant rhododendron (mountain laurel) here. Restoring the former loop trail and blazing both it and the spur trail would make this a pleasant short hike when the rhododendron are in bloom. There is a usable bench far enough along the trail that it should serve as a good spot to watch wildlife and spend time birding here. The spur trail leads to a stream side glen ideal for a cool summer picnic and break from hiking.

West Avery Preserve
West Avery Preserve is the more developed, better maintained, and used portion of this preserve. An Eagle Scout project just upgraded two bog bridges on the orange trail. Trails here are numerous, open, and well blazed. Many of the intersections have map boards like the one at the entrance that clearly indicate your location and trail options.

The orange blazed trail, just to your right after entering the West preserve, has the most elevation change although none of the trails here climb any great distance. This is primarily a perimeter trail that circles out to the farthest reaches of this section and returns to the entrance.

White and yellow blazed trails provide shorter loops within and in conjunction with the orange trail.

The central hub of all the trails is an old, now mostly silted in, mill pond, dam, and sluice race. This is another spot to take a break in the hike and enjoy lunch, birding or the cooling chatter of Billings-Avery brook’s run downhill.

Both tracts encompass just under 100 acres and provide, depending on how many of the trails you use, or loops you make, approximately 5 kilometers of hiking with some nice changes between wetland and upland vegetation and wildlife.