Hiking for Friendly’s: Tyler Mill Preserve and North Haven Friendly’s

19 08 2015

17 August 2015

Tyler Mill Park Wallingford w Diane Saunders 08.17.15 005

Diane Saunders

It may not have been the hottest or most humid day of the summer, but it was close. Regardless, Cherry and I met in Durham at 8AM to continue our Hiking for Friendly’s.

Route 68 towards I-91 was shut down due to an accident, but fortuitously, the detour took us directly to Tyler Mill Preserve in Wallingford. Armed with a map I’d downloaded, we parked and took off at 8:30AM. We entered the 1,000-acre park at its northern end and found the well-marked red trail. We started a clockwise exploration, moving quickly past it’s junction with the yellow and then orange trails. We enjoyed crossing forested wetlands with high rock outcrops on the eastern edge.

Cherry had just returned from a week’s silent retreat where she appreciated daily walks and swims plus an occasional massage. I’d just hosted a beach day attended by 25 of my beloved family. Life was good.

We reached Tamarac Swamp Road and swung around towards our parking area. Suddenly, I was confronted by a sign suggesting a continuation of the red trail not on my map. We decided to be adventurous and take the 2.2-mile extension. Shortly, we encountered another decision point, loop to the left or right. We chose left.

Cherry was excited about an upcoming party she’s hosting where her friends and family will meet each other. After hearing about sisters Missy and Holly and stepmother Barbara for years, I too was looking forward to the event. I shared my current strategy of taking August as vacation—trying to do as much as possible to recognize and meet my needs.

When we saw a fenced area, we stopped to read the sign describing a wildflower restoration area done with the assistance of Lyman Hall students. As we contemplated the project, a woman approached and described their activities removing invasives (multiflora rose and Russian Olive) and planting bird and butterfly-friendly natives. Suddenly, both Cherry and this woman, who turned out to be Diane Saunders, recognize each other as former colleagues at UCONN Extension! We got a personal tour of the project and guidance to some of the unusual sights in the area. And a revised copy of the map to get us back to our car. Three hours after starting, we arrived, covered with sweat but pleased with both the property and serendipity that life can bring.

And then, to North Haven Friendly’s where a cheerful Danielle allowed me to grab a printed paper roll filled with mazes, word searches, and other kid-friendly activities. (She even gave me crayons!) Searching the menu, Cherry discovered we were entitled to a ten-percent discount and free sundaes due to our senior status. Will the surprises at Friendly’s ever end?

While devouring sandwiches and sundaes, we looked at our list of Friendly’s to determine our next month’s stop. To be announced!

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2 responses

19 08 2015
Susan Scott

Lovely adventures Beth! Surprises all along the way! I’m still imagining that choc fudge sundae from a post or two back ..

19 08 2015
Susan Scott

Don’t know where my comment went so if a duplicate apologies! Great adventures Beth thanks for sharing them!

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