By Jelane A. Kennedy
The last couple weeks have marked phase three of opening in Connecticut. At this point it appears that the slow reopening has been keeping the virus manageable. We have seen the roads become busy again and more people out and about. But with all that we have also seen more recklessness, people not wearing masks and not keeping the 6 feet of social distance. Which worries us both. But on whole we have found most people especially in the Newington area to be very respectful and wearing masks.
But with this in mind we have continued to walk and try to keep to places where we have not felt overrun by people. This week we went to one of our favorite walks to only drive away. We went at a different time than we have in the past and found the parking lot crowded. We feel fortunate though that we could move on and that we have now gathered a bit of a repertoire. We have also been starting to bike again which has been really nice. Again, this year Eileen jokes that she rides so much better than she walks. Hopefully soon she will be able to get back to PT, recovering from the bicycle accident in July 2018 has been a larger challenge than either of us would have thought. We would also like to be back swimming, but our gym has no provisions for scheduling swims, so it is all haphazard.
In my last post I shared three walks that we discovered and again in this post I will add three more. First though I will start with one that had potential, but we have taken off the list. The walk was about five minutes away from where we are living. I found it on a map of Newington, but it actually belongs to Wethersfield. It is called 1860 Reservoir. It took a little bit of finesse to find the entrance to the area, what had attracted me was that it was marked as a starting point for the Heritage Way bike trail that winds through Wethersfield. The drive in was a mess, I was afraid that I would bottom out the car, we had to drive all the way in to the parking area to turn around. Once we got there, we saw a few folks fishing and found the little trail that goes part way around the reservoir. It was poorly maintained, lots of overgrowth and a tight foot path. The best part of the hike was seeing the swans with their cygnets floating on the reservoir. The big surprise were all the lovely homes around the water, we could see many folks had kayaks/canoes in their yards. Unfortunately, we will probably not go back again since it seemed so neglected. I think if you only want to fish it would be OK. We also have biked a section of the Heritage Trail which we did enjoy, but we won’t bother with trying to start or finish at the 1860 Reservoir.
The first on the list is that we discovered that CT Transit Fastrak (that was created to aid in bringing folks into Hartford has a multi-use trail connected to it. The Fastrack is supposed to be like a lite rail system but instead of using trains, high efficiently buses are used to create the rapid transit system. Part of the Fastrack has section from Newington to New Britain has an integrated multi-use trail that follows along the Fastrack that opened in 2015. I had read about the multi-use trail when we first moved to the area but had not really investigated. The trail is separated from the roadway by a curb and a steel railing. The buses do zoom by, but it is actually very quiet. The couple of days we have gone, the buses swish along the road about every seven minutes, sometimes on the going to Hartford side and sometimes on the coming from Hartford side. The trail does go through an industrial park area which is not uncommon on many rails to trails. At one point we could also hear an Amtrak train running by but could not see the train because of the trees. We saw a number of wild flowers and heard a lot of birds. It was off and on shady. The trail is 10 feet wide with a split rail fence on the non-roadway side. It seems that not a lot of people use the trail, so we pretty much had it to ourselves. The trail runs five miles, so you can do a nice up and back. The area to park the car/truck was very accessible so it would also be a nice option for folks using wheelchairs. We have walked and ridden our bikes along this urban oasis. We can see ourselves taking advantage of this more in the future.
Next on the list is Dividend Pond Trail and Ruins, is in Rocky Hill. The trail is part of an old Mill area. The area was the first Industrial Park in Rocky Hill going way back to 1667. There are two mill ponds and a great waterfall. We have yet to find the four dams. But we have not walked the whole trail system. The trail system opened in 2012 for public use as a town park. Throughout the trail there are kiosks talking about what took place in the area and how this tract of land was used. I believe the signs may mark the 10 archaeological sites that are within the park. We have only done the Lower Pond trail and a bit of the upper pond trail, which I think is considered the part of the White Trail. It is a soft dirt trail with that varies in width. There are ups and downs along the trail that can be at times a bit tricky for Eileen to negotiate as she walks, and it requires more thought and carefulness than a flatter asphalt trail. It is not a trail that I would consider handicapped accessible. I loved seeing and hearing the waterfall and I found the kiosk very interesting. The day we went it was during the week and it was pretty quiet. I think it would be good on a hot day as there was a lot of tree cover. As Eileen gets more mobility, I think we will be back to visit (of course on a week day!).
The last trail I will mention is kind of a trail but not. So, I saw a sign off of the Berlin Turnpike and it had what looked like a boat launch. We decided to check it out. It took us to Silver Lake in Berlin, Connecticut. There is a small boat launch with a porta potty. Some decent parking. We have seen kayakers and fishing boats. I found a dead-end road that edges the area. I don’t think it gets used much by folks. There is a gate that blocks off the lane when you get into the parking lot. The asphalt beyond the gate is in pretty good shape. The lane hugs the lake and there is usually a breeze, with some views of the lake. The lane abruptly ends as it intersects with the train tracks. The walk is probably about ¼ a mile in length, so when we do go, we usually walk up and down a couple of times. There is something about walking by the lake and seeing the wild flowers and the butterflies that is just refreshing. We also enjoy seeing the folks out on the lake. We have seen fancy fishing boats, inflatable kayaks and hard plastic kayaks playing in the water. We have talked about it would be fun to stop over and kayak at some point.
Be safe, get outside and enjoy nature in whatever way you can!
© Jelane A. Kennedy and Eileen A. McFerran