Tribute to Susan Allison

17 05 2018

 

SusanAllisonsq Rolande sky

Photo: Rolande Duprey

“I’ll be dead in a month,” she said, just as I was ready to leave. A door knob disclosure. I sat back down. Susan said her mother had predicted and orchestrated her passing. I asked what she was feeling now and Susie said, “Just a sense. And pain.” We spoke a bit longer before I had to leave, as I was already late for my grandson’s birthday cake celebration. It was the last time I saw her, about a month ago.

Susan was my muse. She started the transfer of my thoughts to paper in a more consistent way. She assigned me tasks I thought were beyond me but proved me wrong. Our interactions ebbed and flowed over the years. She came on some of my hikes while recovering from her bouts of cancer. I worked for her husband for a few seasons.

Then, after The Election, our contact reestablished through her Poet’s Corner at the library devoted to Resistance. Susan wanted to publish more of her poetry and I offered my skills and experience using self-publishing. Thus began seven months of regular meetings to review and edit her poems. Throughout all her treatments and challenges, Susan continued to revise her work. Even that final visit included the transfer of final edits of her short poems and ditties book.

Susan glowed much of the time, even while in pain. Her exterior lightness contrasted with her inner angst. Peace now, Susan. It’s all Light now. xoxo

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Housatonic Meadows State Park

16 05 2018

Housatonic Meadows 6

(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.





Friendly’s Highlights

10 05 2018
Beth and Cherry at Emporium Cassandra Day

Photo by Cassandra Day

Friends,

Here’s a summary (prepared by Cherry) of our Hikes for Friendly’s, which are detailed here. We were written up today in the Middletown Press!

Hiking for Friendly’s: 2015-2018

2015
June 8: Airline Trail, Portland and Cromwell Friendly’s- Where it all began!
July 13: Sprague Preserve, Franklin  and Willimantic  Friendly’s
August 17: Tyler Mill Preserve, Wallingford and North Haven Friendly’s
September 8: Ragged Mountain and Southington Friendly’s
October 27: Barnes Memorial Nature Preserve and Bristol Friendly’s

2016
March 4: Mattabesset River Trail and Cromwell Friendly’s
August 26: Lantern Hill and Mystic Friendly’s
October 11: Great Meadows and Wethersfield Friendly’s
December 21: Scantic River State Park and Enfield Friendly’s

2017
January 20: Northwest Park, Windsor and Windsor Locks Friendly’s
February 24: Milford Point and Milford Friendly’s
April 20: Naugatuck State Forest, Beacon Falls and Naugatuck Friendly’s
May 24: Windsor Locks Canal and East Windsor Friendly’s
June 28: Kettletown State Park and Southbury Friendly’s
July 10: Pauchaug State Forest, Voluntown and Norwich Friendly’s
September 11: Huntington State Park (Newton, Redding) and Danbury Friendly’s
October 18: Talcott Mountain and Avon Friendly’s
November 15: Case Mountain and Manchester Friendly’s

2018
January 12: Elizabeth Park and Hartford Friendly’s
March 2: Crescent Lake, Southington and Plainville Friendly’s
April 25: Cromwell Friendly’s- We did it!

PS Two of these Friendly’s (Milford and Hartford) have closed since our adventures

 





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.





Hiking For Friendly’s Celebration!!

26 04 2018

celebration-2.jpgCherry and I returned to the “scene of the crime” where our Friendly’s adventures began, in Cromwell, CT. Surrounded by family and friends, we recounted our story of visiting 22 Connecticut Friendly’s and our associated hikes.

celebration-1.jpgCromwell’s manager Sean and his excellent staff took good care of us, with complimentary sundaes and goodie bags from Corporate Headquarters.

celebration-4.jpgWe all had Friendly’s memories and stories to share and a chance to reunite with long-time friends and cross-pollinate with others.

celebration-5.jpgThe perfect activities for a gloomy, rainy afternoon!

celebration-3.jpgThank you, Cromwell Friendly’s, all the other Connecticut stores, and Headquarters for making a memorable day!

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Hopeville Pond SP

19 04 2018
Hopeville Pond 1

Sky’s the Limit Site #11

From the DEEP website:

The Pachaug River was a major fishing ground for the Mohegan Indians. At low water the stone weirs, constructed by the Indians at angles from the river banks, are still visible. These weirs directed water flow as well as eels, shad, and other fish toward the center of the stream where the Indians placed baskets to trap them. Until blocked up by a dam, constructed in 1828 at Greenville, shad passed up the Quinebaug River in great numbers.

In pioneer times, the gristmill and sawmill were among the first requisites of a community. In 1711, surveyor Stephen Gates was granted fourteen acres of land within the limits of the present state park for the purpose of constructing mills. He erected a sawmill and cornmill at the natural falls (now underwater) on the Pachaug River for the convenience of the inhabitants. In 1818, Elizah Abel purchased this mill privilege and erected a woolen mill at the site. John Slater later purchased the woolen mill, sawmill, and gristmill; he then built a satinet mill faced with local granite. He named his new mill the Hope Mill. The name Hopeville was derived from this and has remained to the present time. In 1860, the village of Hopeville reached its zenith with the tremendous demands for woolens. At this time, it was owned by Edwin Lanthrop and Company and prospered until 1881 when the mill was destroyed by fire, never to be rebuilt. At the turn of the century, the church and four houses in the community burned. Furthermore, in 1908, the gristmill which had operated from 1711 until that time also went up in flames.

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View from parking area

The site’s suitability for recreational activities was recognized in the 1930’s when the Federal Government purchased considerable acreage in Eastern Connecticut. These lands were managed by the Civilian Conservation Corps with evidence of much of the work done by the CCC still visible in the pine plantations, forest roads, and fire control ponds. Most of these federally purchased lands now comprise portions of the nearby Pachaug State Forest. In 1938 Hopeville Pond was designated as a state park.

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High water flow on our hike

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Bizarre canker in birch tree

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We reach the small waterfall

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It must be time for lunch!





Old Furnace SP

18 04 2018
Old Furnace 1

Sky’s the Limit #5

Colonial New England was famed for its use of water power to drive the machinery in its mills. The potential energy that could be harnessed from flowing water was based on the steepness of the elevational drop in the streambed; the greater the drop, the more the potential power.

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Water was raging during our visit!

(Text from the DEEP site) Iron making was one of the many industries to use water power. Iron ore was processed in a blast furnace and produced iron that could be formed into a wide variety of items necessary in 18th century America. It is from a former iron furnace on this site that the park draws its name. And this furnace was especially of value in the revolutionary war when it was a major supplier of horseshoes, a commodity greatly needed by the Continental Army. As times changed and the iron ore resource was exhausted, the need for and use of water power also changed. By the 1830s, this location was the site of a grist mill.

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Interesting bridge crossing!

Through the years as local industry changed on the land, so too was there change in the ownership of the land. By 1909 the property owner, William Pike, made the decision to sell the location to the town of Killingly for a municipal park. Nine years after that, in 1918, Killingly sold the park property to the State of Connecticut which has since added more land to form the park we have today. And while explorers will find some remnants of the furnace operation still existing by the brook, many early features have been lost over the years to the landscaping that created the present park setting.

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Rock formations

Today the park’s recreational landscape compliments the historic landscape of yesterday. One of Connecticut’s best short hiking trails is a case in point. Hikers may access the trail by crossing Furnace Brook opposite the picnic area and locating the light blue blazes on the trees. Any question of effort will prove worthwhile with the panorama from the rocky outcrops. The view, from 200 feet above the valley, is described by some as stunning, and encompasses Half Hill Pond (also known as Upper Ross Pond) in the immediate foreground and in the distance an unobscured view across eastern Killingly and beyond into Rhode Island. A lush mix of deciduous and coniferous tree cover surrounds the lowland wetlands and adds a special mix of vibrant color in the fall.

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Beautiful ferns and formations

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Brunch… (and she ate the whole thing!)