Archive for the ‘ ~GRISWOLD CT~ ’ Category

Fenway Trail – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Fenway Trail – Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 22, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate.

This would be the second of three planned hikes here at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike would follow the yellow interior loop known as the Fenway Trail. Starting from the parking area at the bend of Miller Road, follow the red blazed trail into the preserve. The red trail, known as the Axis Road, cuts the property in two offering an easier connection to the two loops or an easier exit if need be. Soon the blue blazed Wapayu Trail comes in from the left. Continue straight ahead following the now red and blue blazes. At the next intersection the blue trails turns to the right. To the left is the yellow loop where you will exit from. Continue ahead here following now the red and yellow blazes. You will be under a canopy of beech trees along this stretch. You will pass a stone wall before coming to the split where the red stays to the left. Veer right here onto the yellow trail. The trail now follows an old cart path. You will get your first glimpses of ridges here and will notice the forest floor is covered with ferns.  The blue blazes rejoin the yellow trail for the first of three times. For this hike you will follow the yellow blazes. You are now leaving North Stonington and entering Griswold. The trail narrows a bit passing some stonework before dipping down into a small valley, crosses a brook, climbs up the first of the hills, before coming to a series of boardwalks. The trail here is rocky and root bound. Watch your step! The yellow trail splits from the blue again briefly as it weaves through an area of beautiful stone walls. Rejoining the blue trail, you will scramble up and over a hill through an area called Oak Alley. There are some rather large trees along the trail and some information about the Pequots. The yellow trail then turns to the left and zigzags down hill and rejoins the blue trail for the last time at the next right. The trail now follows an earthen dam for a bit before winding uphill passing an area of cairns, possibly of Native American origin, before coming to a sitting area. This is a good spot for a break as you are quite a distance from civilization. It tends to be quiet here. Continuing the trail winds downhill crossing over a brook. There is a spur trail to the left for a view of Lost Pond. The trail splits. Follow the yellow to the left. From here it follows a ridge and weaves through a fern covered forest. In this area you will cross into Preston, the third town of the Tri-Town Preserve. Next you cross a “log bridge” before coming to the intersection of the red trail. From here continue ahead and slightly to the right to continue to follow the yellow blazes. This will be the hardest part of this hike. That hill in front of you… you about to climb! You will spend sometime climbing to the top as the trail bends to the south and follows the ridgeline. I saw quite a few deer along this stretch. Near the top of the hill along the trail there is a boulder with a “spike” in it with the inscription “P & G”. Just after this point you will climb over the crest of the hill and start the long steady descent back into North Stonington. Near the end of the yellow trail it climbs slightly uphill one last time. At the next intersection turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Fenway Trail

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Fenway Trail Following A Ridgeline

Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.39″N, 71°54’16.06″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 21, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Moderate, hills can be difficult.

 

This new Avalonia Conservancy property is large and sprawling offer several miles of trails. The longer blue blazed trail follows the perimeter of the property whereas the yellow blazed loop is shorter and explores the inner parts of the preserve. The red blazed trails serve as access and exits to and from the preserve. Do note that a portion of the blue trail has not been blazed yet pending finalization of land acquisitions and is expected to be completed in the autumn. For this hike, guided by a member of the Conservancy, we explored the eastern portion of the preserve utilizing a little of each trail. Starting from a small parking area at the bend in Miller Road we first followed the red blazed trail. We soon came to a marker for the blue blazed trail and continued ahead. The yellow trail comes in from the left  and shortly thereafter we turned to the right to continue to follow the blue blazes. The red and yellow blazed trail continues ahead and we would return from there. The blue trail, named the Wapayu Trail, then starts a steady climb up the first of several significant hills on the preserve. We passed several walls along the stretch that are believe to be of Native American origin. These are known as serpentine walls that twist and turn like a snake with a boulder at the end of the wall as its head. As the trail climbs over the hill and descends we came to the next trail intersection. Here the yellow trail (Fenway Trail) joins the blue blazed trail once again. This is also about where we entered Griswold. From here we followed the double blazed trail passing beautiful outcrops. Ahead the trails split again. The yellow blazed trail veers to the left and the blue blazed trail turns to the right sharply and climbs up another significant hill known as Rixtown Mountain, also known as Wapayu. Along the trail on the long steady climb we passed several cairns, several outcrops, and a vernal pool. (Note: that at the time of this hike the trail was blazed only with survey flagging and will be blazed by the autumn). Near the peak of Wapayu is a small rock formation along the trail. From here the trail descends and winds passing several impressive stone walls and an old quarry before traversing the northern reaches of the preserve. The blue trail once again joins the yellow trail for a bit as it crosses an area known as Oak Alley. The trees are very large and old along this stretch with an outcrop and stone wall on the left. The yellow and blue trails split once again to rejoin at the bottom of the hill. Follow the blue blazes down the hill and then back up another small hill, once again rejoined by yellow blazes before passing through a cairn field. The trail then turns sharply to the south following a babbling brook that we crossed just before an old stone dam at the edge of Lost Pond. The trail then climbs back uphill catching glimpses of Lost Pond on the left. We ignore a red blazed bypass trail on the left and continued straight. A little further the blue and yellow split one last time. We stayed on the blue trail climbing over a hill passing more cairns and entered Preston. At the next trail intersection we turned left onto the red blazed trail. It is an access road that runs south to the parking lot. For the remainder of the hike we followed the red blazes back into North Stonington passing an occasional outcrop. The red blazes are once again joined briefly by yellow and blue blazes before exiting the property. A map of the property is currently posted at the parking area. Also be sure to bring plenty of water. This hike can challenge your stamina.

 

Thank you to Carl Tjerandsen for leading this hike!

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Stone Wall Along Blue Trail

Dark Hollow Brook – Voluntown/Griswold

  • Dark Hollow Brook
  • Hodge Pond Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°32’28.76″N, 71°51’27.01″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some significant elevation.

 

If you like stone walls and ledges, this is the hike for you. I met with fellow hiker Auntie Beak for this mid afternoon hike in the Pachaug State Forest in Connecticut. She has done this hike on several occasions and it was nice to relax and just follow her lead. The trails here are not blazed, therefore it is recommended to obtain a copy of the map for the forest trails and use GPS. (If you use Auntie Beaks map, linked below, note that we did the southern portion of her overall hike). Starting from the parking area just west of Kinney Brook along Hodge Pond Road we followed the old dirt road south into the forest. The first part of this hike you will continue straight along the main road ignoring side trails. After climbing uphill for a bit we came upon an old stone building. The stone work is quite impressive. Continuing along the old dirt road, immediately following the stone building is an open field with flowers. It appears this might have once been a garden. Further ahead is a seasonal brook and waterfall to the right. Soon after there are some beautiful ledges as well. At the end of the road turn right and start heading northwest. You will start to see more impressive ledges along this stretch. At the next intersection merge to the left. The trail becomes much more primitive and narrow at this point as it meanders through a forest of rocks and boulders. Ahead, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you will come to a bridge that crosses Dark Hollow Brook. At the next two trail splits stay to the left. You are now in the Town of Griswold. Ahead stay to the right, the trail now winds as it climbs uphill toward an old farm site. The trail soon becomes flanked with stone walls. Take your time here and look around. There is a well here and several old farm tools abandoned years ago. The trail soon comes to another dirt road. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the paved Hodge Pond Road. Turn right and follow the paved road downhill back to the parking area. You will pass a cemetery along the way. Hunting is allowed here and blazed orange is required during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Dark Hollow Brook

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Trail Flanked By Stone Walls