Friday, October 26, 2012

East River Preserve - Guilford

New trailhead on Clapboard Hill Road

And we're back in Guilford, where we started this adventure last January, because they've completed another 1.5 mile of trail heading south and I want to hike it before Frankenstorm Sandy gets here. I saw a CFPA notice about the new section, and there's a map online here showing the extension from Sullivan Drive down to Duck Hole Road.  So that's where I was headed when I passed the unmistakeable NET trail markings on Clapboard Hill Road. Yippee, they got the trail even farther than they said!

Trail map based on my gps route

This was great timing for a hike in Guilford, since their fall foliage was not as advanced as further north and it was like going back in time a week or so. 

Random ruins along the trail

This section of trail is lovely, with some of the most perfectly painted trail blazes I think I have ever seen. It is not easy to paint a perfect rectangle on rough bark, but these were perfect. 

Lots of bolders
Guilford has the only part of the mainline NET that is not on the Metacomet traprock ridge. This rock is more what I'm used to -- gneiss and schist. And there is lots of it. 

Skirting the meadows

There is a series of meadows that the trail eventually comes out onto, following near the edge. It's all very  tastefully well marked.

East River
And then the tidal East River comes into view.  I watched a King Fisher diving for fish and wondered what the impending storm would do to the trail.   There are a lot of leaves left on the trees, which will be bad for blowdowns.

East River

Bridge crossing off of  Foote Bridge Road
There is a lovely bridge that crosses the East River and looks like it used to take vehicular traffic coming off of Foote Bridge Road.

Four-foot diameter White Oak - the state tree
I noticed a lot of White Oaks along the floodplain here. One was a good four foot in diameter.  I just recently completed an inventory of White Oak trees that were planted in my town, many of which perished, so it was nice to see the state tree thriving here. Oaks throughout Connecticut are in decline for a variety of reason, one being that oak saplings are a favorite deer food.

Sullivan Drive
The walk to Sullivan Drive is about 45 minutes plus stops to gawk at the river or whatever. This is where I left off last January, so I turned around and headed back. If you park at the popular pulloff on Sullivan Drive just before the ugly concrete bridge, you have to continue walking up Sullivan over the bridge and then turn right into the meadow as soon as you see it, and the trail is right there. You don't need to walk as far as the boulders in the photo above.

Heading back from Sullivan Drive

More random ruins - an old breached dam (back near the beginning)

East River overlook. This is back near the car. 

Autumn Snooze - the joy of not racing down the trail
After this, I really don't know what the plans are for this trail. The endpoint is supposed to be Chittendon Park on the shore, but that involves a road walk of about 4 miles or so. It's not a bad walk, but not a hike, either. I read that plans for the route will be finalized by 2014.  I can't imagine how it might get off the roads, because it's a very densely populated area and if you look at a satellite photo every appears to be either a place of business, someone's yard, or a vast marsh.

1 comment:

  1. In the same area, kayaking the East River is a relaxing way to spend a morning.