There's something calming about being in the middle of the woods with only the occasional rustle of tree branches, crow of a bird or scuttle of a squirrel to break the silence. The only way back is to follow the yellow or blue trail markers.
It’s where I often find myself when I’ve had enough. Enough of the pressures of work, enough of my 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, whom I love dearly, asking me the same question for the zillionth time, enough of feeling as if I’m never going to get the laundry done and the kitchen floor cleaned.
I don’t need to stay long; some days I’m there for 30 minutes, others two to three hours, although that’s usually when my husband or my dog comes with me.
Living in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut, there are ample places for me to make my great escape from reality, to get lost in the woods (but not really lost) and to take the deep breaths that fill my lungs with the calming energy that some get from yoga or meditation.
I don’t get out there as much as I used to but my goal this spring is to try. I want to get back into the habit of doing something that not only improves my focus and brings me inner peace (corny, I know, but it really does), but to regain the boundless energy I once had to complete my daily chores and be the mom and editor that I want to be.
To get back on the trail I’m looking for new places to explore so please share your suggestions. They can be quick jaunts or long hauls; rough terrain or a rock dust path. Some days I need a challenge, while others I just want to saunter underneath the protection of the trees.
I just found Peter Marteka’s interactive map on the Hartford Courant where he lists dozens of Connecticut trails that he’s walked and ranked. One that has already caught my eye is the Woodlawn Trail in Stafford. I drive by this area on a weekly basis and never knew it existed.
Some of my most favorite places to go in northeastern Connecticut include:
- Pachaug Forest in Voluntown, the Chapman section, the Mt. Misery trail is a quick hike with an incline but one that my 4-year-old was able to successfully scramble up;
- Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, the Wolf Den trail is a favorite for a quick hike alone or with my family;
- Bigelow Hollow State Forest in Union, just about any trail will do, love them all;
- West Thompson Lake in Thompson, which is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property and a great light-hike area for children and dogs.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions and maybe I’ll highlight one or two of them in my column next month.
Hitting the Trail
Here are some great hikes coming up in the region. If you know of more add them in the comment section:
- The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Great Park Pursuit kicks off on April 28 at the Goodwin State Forest in Hampton. For more details about this family-friendly, monthlong event, log onto NoChildLeftInside.org.
- An is scheduled for April 22 at 1 p.m. the along Eaton Road.