Mattabesset River Trail, Middletown and Cromwell Friendly’s

6 03 2016

4 March 2016

Cherry and I are back to exploring trails and hiking for Friendly’s. Today was in the thirties with a dusting of snow, but we were no deterred. We headed to northern Middletown to check out the multi-use trail along the Mattabesset River. After leaving one car at the Cromwell Friendly’s, we couldn’t locate the trail head at the cul-de-sac on Tuttle Place. We tried a few other side roads until we found a lovely entrance on Moss Glen. Meanwhile, we were catching up in the car on our lives since our last encounter.

Mattabesett River 04.04.16Heading down to the river, there was a slight sheen of snow on the paved bike path. We headed west when we reached the main route and enjoyed walking along the Mattabesset, under West Road, and along condos in the Westlake area. Cherry noted that she was thrilled that her nominee for a local award had been approved, particularly since news of the nomination had leaked out. We turned back at Westlake Drive, about a mile, and took a grassy path around a pond there, where we scared up a pair of mallards. A series of rickety wooden bridges crossed the wetlands but the dismal condition of one forced us to walk through a parking lot to return to the bike path and head east. I talked about my latest assignment in the city arts office.

Passing our entry point from Moss Glen, we continued to the trail head at Tuttle Place, which was blatantly obvious once we knew where to look. Interestingly, a “For Sale” sign that had been lying on the ground was now nailed back on a pair of four-by-fours. Cherry shared that a woman she’d met on retreat was so taken by Cherry’s butterfly garden plans that she’d made a donation, despite her limited funds, as this woman had lost her son and had a husband suffering from dementia.

Grateful for finding the proper trail head, we viewed the “rest area” and map and returned to the car. The entire trip took about an hour and a half and was four miles total. By then, the sun was peeking through clouds, although the air was still chilly.

Looking forward to visiting our first (and favorite?) Friendly’s, we were disappointed to find there was no toilet paper or towels in the ladies’ bathroom. Waiting a few minutes to be seated, we noticed a long table in the back still uncleared from breakfast. Once seated, we chatted quite a bit before finally getting to our order, which our young waiter with a hair wave graciously took. We talked about my upcoming trip to Costa Rica with my traveling friends, The Jeffs, we covered Cherry’s plans to furnish an needy person’s home, and we reviewed our enneagram types. It also turns out that I forgot to tell Cherry about my upcoming ecotherapy class at Connecticut Forest and Park Association or being discovered by yet another one of Thomas and Victoria Williams’s descendants.

Lunch came and surprisingly, my BACON & SWISS TURKEY BURGER (All-white-meat Turkey burger topped with melted Swiss cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, fresh lettuce, tomato, Honey Mustard, and mayo on a grilled Brioche roll) came without bacon. Not a huge deal, but it did detract a bit from the experience. Friendly’s has new (to us) tablets at each table for ordering, paying, and playing games. We weren’t able to use the new toy because of specifics of our order (our senior meals came with free sundaes), but they looked interesting.

And so did our sundaes, both of us getting forbidden chocolate with hot fudge. Yum. We talked about friends who needed visits and our efforts to provide support. We shared that each of us had plans following this adventure that included MORE food or drink! Finally, it was time to head in our separate directions, both of us satiated with our food and conversation. But just as important was our time outside that we both agreed was therapeutic and rewarding.


Cherry and Beth’s hiking adventures continue

13 06 2012

We are starting a new blue-blazed trail, the Menunkatuck! After brief confusion about the meeting place (thank goodness for cell phones), Cherry and I parked her car at the end of our planned hike on Route 77 in Guilford, and then drove to our starting point on Race Hill Road. Here was another glitch – the road didn’t go east as indicated on the map. Fortunately, the area was well posted, indicating only a half-mile walk to the trailhead, so I left my car under the sheltering arms of low-hanging tree. We got started around nine o’clock and the weather was overcast and in the sixties, which felt perfect.

Along we went until, after about fifteen minutes, I started to get antsy. I thought we’d gone a mile and had seen no indication of the blue blazed Menunkatuck Trail. We hoped this would not be a repeat of our disappointment in the trails at Cockaponset. Just about ready to give up, I checked the map contours, walked a few more steps, and voila! Blue blazes! And a nice sign indicating it was 3.2 miles to the junction with our former friend, the Mattabesset Trail.

So, we were off. Most of the area was forested, with scattered rocks and boulders. We followed the woods road until we began twisting and climbing up rocky formations. We never did get a good vista, but it was beautiful.

As usual, we talked about relationships. Or rather Cherry did, because I had nothing to report on that front. I did however have a lot to report about other ventures. The online course I was taking was off to a slow start. I’d begun offering a series of ecotherapy workshops, which was going well. I was trying to finish up a sequel to my first novel and that was stuck, again, although I had added another 10,000 words this month.

Cherry talked about her work and desire to retire in some reasonable amount of time. I interjected I’d been trying hard to understand why I was so overextended when I had no full-time position. We came to a rock cairn, one rock carefully placed atop the next, perfectly balanced. But for us, balancing work and pleasure was always a challenge. Can we trust our inner voices to guide us to the next right thing?

I shared an idea I had recently heard, which I have since looked up, below in its entirety:

 Don’t change. Change is impossible, and even if it were possible, it is undesirable. Stay as you are. Love yourself as you are. And change, if it is at all possible, will take place by itself when and if it wants. Leave yourselves alone. The only growth-promoting change is that which comes from self-acceptance. ~Anthony de Mello.

Certainly, that’s what the trees and rocks do. We found a rock, cleft in half, perhaps by ice or other natural phenomenon. We might do well to follow nature’s example of flowing with what is happening, instead of trying to fight our way upstream.

Eventually, we reached the beginning of the Menunkatuck where it joined the Mattabesset. The sign indicated it was 1.3 miles back to Cherry’s car. We continued, had a snack, admired the ferns, and both agreed that we were tired and ready to be done. Three hours after our start, we spotted Cherry’s bright red car through the trees and gratefully make our way to it.

But, it was only a few seconds later that Cherry said, “That was wonderful. We’ll have to pick a July date for the next piece. We should start early to avoid the heat.”

We’re die-hards, what can we say? We’re hooked on being out in nature, hiking the trails, getting some exercise, and sharing some of ourselves with each other.