Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guilford: Timberlands to Sullivan Drive

2012, the Year Without a Winter.  So let's continue on our journey, parking on Route 80 in Guilford and walking south along the Menunkatuck to Sullivan Drive. The boys are headed out to golf, so we coordinate and my car is spotted at the end of the route. By the way, this blog gives me the option of entering coordinates for each post, so I'll be entering the location of my starting point. You can see that at the end of the blog post, and click for directions or whatever. 

Arriving at Upper Guilford Lake
We're going to start at Timberlands, a park with lots of well-worn trails.   The first part was very easy, if a bit dull, and I found a spot to plant a letterbox.  And wouldn't you know, as soon as I planted the box the  trail came out onto Upper Guilford Lake, and wow, it's gorgeous.  This is where I should have planted. Sigh.

Upper Guilford Lake
I found a geocache by accident, logged in, and continued along the lake shore.  The sound of rapids soon filled the air as a flooded stream emptied into the lake.

The trail followed the stream for a bit, climbing up the side of a gorge, then crossing over a bridge.  This section of trail was definitely the most scenic section of the entire Menunkatuck.  Broomstick ledges was nice, too.

Checking my progress on the Droid
The trail rambled on.  There was a road-walk on North Madison Road, and then the trail skirted subdivisions.  Houses were nearby and I could hear some obnoxious guys in their backyard.  But after a bit the Menunkatuck entered what I guess is Nut Plains Woods, which is somehow apply named, don't ask me why.  No more houses, and the woods were pretty level but with plenty of big boulders.

I decided to check my progress on the Droid. This is handy.  I have entered the approximate trail route and exact parking locations into a Google "My Maps" (or "My Places").  When I view the map, it shows my current location.  At 1:30 I was just over halfway, although I had taken a couple lengthy detours along the way looking for boxes early on.  Time to speed up -- it gets dark at 5:00 and I don't want to have to walk out using my headlamp.

A pretty area, looking west towards a pond off Cindy Lane.
 I really did enjoy the Nut Plains section of trail.  It feels isolated, but the trail is easy to follow. Timberlands was more heavily used.   Lots of people walking their dogs. Seriously, everyone in Timberland had a dog. That's not a bad thing. All the dogs were off-leash, but they were all really good about putting their dog back on leash as soon as they realized another hiker was nearby.  The exception was a woman with four very impressive border collies who were ordered  to crouch down while I passed. That was quite a sight! I've always thought leash laws should be written to says dogs must 'be under control' of their owner, not necessarily on a leash.
Looking back at the last of the blue blazes. 

At the top of a knoll with a seasonal view of a pond off Cindy Lane, the blazes came to an end, and it was all orange surveyor's tape the rest of the way.  That was actually rather neat, to hike on sections of this National Scenic Trail that aren't even fully complete yet.  There was lots of flagging, so the trail was not hard to follow. Eventually, the orange flagging came to an end at a major trail junction, and a few pink flags lead off to the right towards Sullivan Drive.  The path was well-worn from people walking their dogs.  More orange tape appeared sporadically in places where you might not be sure which way to go.

What is that? 
Approaching Sullivan Drive, the trail skirted what appears to be the Guilford Town Yard. It's not too bad, just the occasional glimpse.
Wish I had a horse to run across that
I didn't expect this vast meadow. I would so love to be on a horse running across that.

Sullivan Drive Parking area, looking back towards the trail across the bridge.
 The orange tape directed me along the right edge of the meadow and then out to Sullivan Drive, where I immediately saw car!

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