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Finding Serenity Along the Trail

In search of the best hiking trails in Connecticut for the days when I need a short break or a soul-calming trek.

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:

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:

Linda Civitillo April 17, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Trails aren't for everyone. Just ask those of us who live along the old Cheney Rail Trail in Manchester. It's literally in our backyards and, as a result, as homeowners we've lost quite a bit of privacy. Trust me, it's nothing you would want in your backyard.
Megan Bard (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Hi Linda, I'm not familiar with the old Cheney Rail Trail in Manchester, but I'm sure there are challenges for people who own private property along public walking trails. Do you have any advice for people who live in similar areas and for those who use the trails? Please share it with our readers. Best, Megan

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