DEEP #12: Sunny Brook State Park/Vientiane Thai Restaurant, Torrington CT

9 08 2018

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We just finished DEEP site #12, and it’s our twelfth hike of the 14–only two more to go!!!

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Interesting cairns along the creek

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Fungus among us

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Crossing the creek

Lunch at Vientiane Thai Restaurant — yummy

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River Highlands State Park, Cromwell CT

25 07 2018

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(Text from DEEP website) Where once there were farm fields and pastures, today there is a totally wooded, wonderfully situated, twenty-first century state park. Dedicated in 2001, this recent addition to the park system preserves 177 acres of ecologically important Connecticut River frontage. Tucked into a growing suburban landscape, River Highlands has escaped development to provide a quiet refuge with a wonderful view.

IMG_5659Lush with mixed woodlands dominated by oak, beech, and white pine, the hilly topography ranges in elevation from about 15 feet above sea level by the river to over 150 feet at the northern and southern high spots on the bluffs.

The most level area, or at least the most gently sloping, is at the park entrance on Field Road. It was here, and to the north, that pasture and field once flourished. Today the woodlands have taken over and the wetland systems have rebuilt themselves offering the visitor a true glimpse of the tranquility of the Eastern Forests.

IMG_5664But the real asset of the park is the view from the bluffs it protects. The Connecticut River, beautiful from so many locations, is at its best here. The bluffs are highest at the northern end of the park rising 130 feet above the water, and the view is ample reward for the hike to get there.

The are many trails in the park to lead the hiker across wooden bridges, over streams, along the 150 foot high bluff, or down to the water’s edge past a unique geologic feature known as the blowhole. Here one can hear the wind as it whistles past the bluffs. The Native Americans came to listen to the “wind being caught by the spirit of the earth.” When the colonists arrived they called it Devil’s Blowhole, believing it was an act of Satan. Sailors knew it as an area of quick winds as the park is just upstream of one of the tightest bends on the lower river.

 

Lunch at Ambrosia, Cromwell

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Moosup Valley State Park, Plainville and Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT

12 07 2018

IMG_5547(Text from DEEP website): The Moosup Valley State Park Trail (MVSPT) is a 5.8 mile rail trail in eastern Connecticut. It passes through the towns of Sterling and Plainfield on the rail bed of the former New Haven Railroad. It is a link in the ongoing assemblage of the East Coast Greenway. The former New Haven Railroad operated along this rail bed from 1898 to 1968.

In Plainfield, the trail is about 2.2 miles long with its western terminus at the River Street parking area.  Heading east, the trail skirts the edge of the Moosup River Valley and offers occasional scenic vistas.

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We had a fun lunch at Deary Brothers Mike’s Stand

(Text from Deary Brothers website): As we celebrate our 81st anniversary, we are honored to highlight the fine heritage of the Deary family and that of the outstanding employees who are the foundation of our success.

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(Old) Tom and (Old) Jim Deary (of Dudley, MA.) founded Deary Bros. Inc. in 1913.  They processed milk and other dairy products and distributed their goods from house to house.  They expanded their business into other areas and eventually opened this ice cream stand in 1937.  They found a  perfect location, however the house that stood at the desired location had to be moved around the corner to make room for the new business.  The original house would eventually become the home of (Young) Tom and Teddy Deary and their thirteen children.  Each of the thirteen children worked countless hours at The Stand.

Mr. Jones and Bill Moyer initially ran the family owned business.  The Stand featured the best ice cream in the area.  Five and ten cent cones were served for hours at a time from each of the ten windows at The Stand.

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Next was the Roseland Cottage!

(Text from the Roseland Cottage website): Built in 1846 in the newly fashionable Gothic Revival style, Roseland Cottage was the summer home of Henry and Lucy Bowen and their young family. While the house is instantly recognizable for its pink exterior, Roseland Cottage has an equally colorful interior, featuring elaborate wall coverings, heavily patterned carpets, and stained glass, much of which survives unchanged from the Victorian era. The house is a National Historic Landmark.

Woodstock native Henry Bowen returned to his hometown after establishing a successful business in New York City. He used Roseland Cottage as a place to entertain friends and political connections, including four U.S. presidents. The picturesque landscape includes original boxwood-edged parterre gardens planted in the 1850s. The estate includes an icehouse, aviary, carriage barn, and the nation’s oldest surviving indoor bowling alley. It reflects the principles of Andrew Jackson Downing, a leading nineteenth-century tastemaker.

 





DEEP Sky Challenge: Naugatuck State Forest Quillinan Reservoir Block, Ansonia and Seymour

21 06 2018
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After some challenges, we reached the Raptor Woods Trailhead

 

Pyrola/shinleaf and Indian pipes

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Glacial erratic

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Stone marking Paugassett Indians

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Recent human artifact 🙂

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Obstacle course to reach our lunch

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Success, and well worth it for good Greek food!

Par of DEEP Sky’s the Limit Challenge





West Woods, DEEP #2

3 06 2018

30 May 2018

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West Woods Trails starts on Peddler’s Road

(Text from Guilford Land Trust site) The forest and marshes in and around Westwoods were used by Guilford’s settlers as agricultural lands.

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Lost Lake, looking south, with fog rolling in

Trees were cleared, stone walls were built, livestock were grazed, and where Lost Lake stands today, salt hay was harvested.

 

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Lady’s slippers

The story of this forest is similar to that of many forests throughout Connecticut. As the demand for charcoal and firewood increased, Westwoods was further divided into smaller parcels to become wood lots.

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At the Lost Lake overlook

There was some quarrying at its center. Around the turn of the century, Stiles Brick Company of North Haven purchased large tracts of the forest to supply wood for its kilns.

 

 

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We couldn’t find the smiley face trail markers but we did find this!

After our hike, we enjoyed dining al fresco on the Guilford Green with treats from The Marketplace.





Housatonic Meadows State Park

16 05 2018

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(Text from the DEEP website) Located in the rock-strewn valley of the Housatonic River amid the rugged hills of the northwestern uplands, Housatonic Meadows is an ideal setting for a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Camping under the tall pines on the riverbank gives the overnight visitor a genuine back-to-nature feeling. The clear, cold river water also provides a fine opportunity for fly fishermen to test their skills on trout and bass. A two-mile stretch of river (including the park shore) is limited to fly fishing. In 1927 Housatonic Meadows was established as a state park.

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At the trailhead

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Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) along the way

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At the overlook of the Housatonic River Valley

 

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A group of Yale students hiking the AT

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Fellow DEEP Sky’s the Limit hiker Jim with Cherry

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Followed by lunch at the Goshette

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Our waitress understood my taking home our left over french fries for my neighbor’s chickens.





Day Pond State Park

2 05 2018

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(Text from the DEEP site)

The pond, which is the central feature of the park, was originally constructed by a pioneering family named Day. The water from the pond turned a large overshot waterwheel that powered the “up and down saw” of the family sawmill. Park visitors today will find only stone foundations as reminders of those colonial times. Day Pond is an attractive area for fishermen since the pond is stocked with trout. It was established as a park in 1949.

IMG_5041To begin the geologic exploration of the Day Pond, cross the dam, and then follow the blue trail to the left. The abundance of boulders in the woods indicate this area is covered with till, the unsorted material left behind by the glaciers. Till contains grain sizes from microscopic clay grains to boulders as large as houses. Till is generally found on the hilltops, while stratified drift is found in the valleys, where heavy melt water from the glaciers sorted the materials into deposits of similar sized grains. Natural sand and gravel deposits thus occur in valleys.

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Wake-robin/Red Trillium

 

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The Quaint

 

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The Ugly

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Rewarded with lunch!! Chili dog and whitefish sandwich. Yum.