Not Walking…

Right now we’re not walking as a group. As you can see in the side bar where I list future walks we’ll be waiting for all Covid-19 precautionary measures are lifted before rescheduling Breakfast Walks.

Meanwhile, none of that should stop you from getting out, AND SAFELY, enjoying an outdoors walk.

We’ve done one walk together in the past week and I’ve been out on a short hike recently.

Niantic Boardwalk is a great place to walk. The day we were there we had no problem keeping a very safe distance from other walkers. One, because the boardwalk is now one-way – FROM THE HOLE IN THE WALL TO THE NIANTIC DRAWBRIDGE (that’s opposite to the initial announcement in The Day); and everyone was obeying the one-way requirement (i’m not finding that when grocery shopping). The sun, views, and fresh air lifted our spirits and put smiles on our faces. We had face coverings ready in case we needed them but the safe distancing and one-way traffic didn’t require their use.

Garlic mustard, an invasive, introduced bi-annual from Europe, North-western Africa, Western and central Asia. It is an herb that has been in use dating back to 4,000 BCE.

Yesterday, I took a day to explore some of my favorite trails in Pachaug State Forest. I got there early, walked one loop without seeing anyone. On the next loop there were other hikers behind me for part of the trail but they’d soon branched off. I finished that trail without encountering anyone else. Lots of birds busy in the forest, calling, and flitting around, trout rising and taking flys off the surface, enjoying old favorites and new plants blooming,…

So if you can get out there are things to enjoy and lift your spirits. Please do it safely and respect the safety of others. Distance yourselves from others, have face coverings to wear when passing within a close distance from others.

Be safe, be well!

On, and On, and On…

We go. Not everyday, not unsafely, not always to a trail, park, or other open space. Spaces under blue skies, in the sun, with the breeze blowing softly through the trees. Where birds chirp, woodpeckers hammer trees, the fox trots by, stopping on the woods edge to look back and see your salute to her freedom.

Here in Ledyard, in fact anywhere here in Southeastern Connecticut, there are plenty of places to get out, shake off the cabin fever of waiting for a turning of the virus.

The problem may be the plenty part, as in too many cars at this trail head, too many others already in the park, too many…

But, there are still plenty of open spaces. I walk, now, most often on a few streets near my home. Streets that are safe, there aren’t very many of those in Ledyard because of the traffic even in this time of reduced commuting, and aren’t congested with others walking them.

I only know of one road in Ledyard that has this sign posted but many roads that need it posted and enforced along with enforcement of the speed limit.

I’ve changed the time of day that I’m walking, yes, even those walks near home, to not be out when others without the freedom to pick very early or very late times to get out might want to walk. And, this may be the appropriate time to mention that since we’re not exercising social distancing, or wearing face masks, in the house my wife and I walk together many times – with masks or similar barriers and social distancing ready to use if we meet others on narrow pathways.

Here are some Ledyard suggestions for walks: Colonel Ledyard Park Trail, Nathan Lester Park, Poquetanuck Cove Preserve, Pike-Marshall Preserve, Burton Property, Avery Preserve, and 5 others. Go to the Ledyard Parks and Recreation website for a printable booklet of these hikes.

Crossing brooks in well planned and properly maintained parks, preserves, and on trails is easy

Going further afield there is the Connecticut College Arboretum, Denison Pequot Nature Center and Coogan Farm, Barn Island, Stenger Farm Park, Sprague Land Preserve, Valley Falls Park, and 27 trails in North Stonington. All have additional information and maps available online. Moving even further out are Kettle Pond, Ninigret, and Thurston Pond in Rhode Island.

Wide trails not only provide space for multiples ways of enjoying an outing whether you prefer walking, biking, or horseback. In this time of social-distancing they also provide comfortable space from others.

When you plan one of these outings you should have several nearby alternatives in the event your first choice appears overcrowded. The more vehicles at a trailhead can be a good indicator of trail usage. This is especially true for trails you’re walking for the first time.

I’ll be back next week with more tips and trail suggestions…

Until then; Be Safe, Be Well, Distance, Mask!!

Walking the Pike Preserve Trails

A preview of the April Pancake Breakfast Walk.

Don’t let the moving time dismay you. When I’m on the Pike Preserve trails I constantly stop look, listen… It’s a nature walk and the nature, regardless of the season grabs me.

While there are few hikers or walkers on these trails there are several stables that take advantage of the contingent trails. It does help to keep the inner trails well trodden and identifiable year round. The entry and exit trails for walkers and hikers are well blazed but you need to keep a check on them since these trails meander frequently.

Two unique features that keep children of all ages interested are the ‘Castle Rocks’ at the Northwest turn around and the spring pool at the Northeast side trail.

Castle Rocks…

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.

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.