Connetquot — A short walk…

Weather was nice enough to go walking again today, so went for a short visit to Connetquot State Park. Decided to take the yellow trail, as I hadn’t gone that way in a long time, and I wanted a short-ish hike today. The yellow trail is interesting because they have some interpretive signs here and there, that refer to a wildfire that burned through here in the 1970s. The signs explain the resilience of the forest and how it survived the fire.
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Short Beach — Welcoming in the New Year…

The first day of 2012 — happy new year! Last night we celebrated the new year with unusually warm weather, and so we decided to make a bonfire in the backyard fire pit. We started the fire early enough to make a BBQ and kept it going till midnight! It was lots of fun and a novel way to welcome in the new year.
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Connetquot — Unexpected Encounters…

Went walking with “Cactus Killer” today on my favorite trail in Connetquot, and even visited the little spot I found for drawing the last time I was here. It was about mid-afternoon, so I didn’t expect we would see much wildlife, but we had incredible luck (too bad I didn’t have my camera this time!)

We had the amazing good fortune to see 31 deer! It was like a deer convention. There was a whole herd of them. We couldn’t believe it. As we started our walk we saw one or two in a clearing through the trees, then as we turned we saw the whole meadow was full with grazing deer — maybe eleven of them. That was so exciting in and of itself we were quite content with our walk. But then we saw another meadow area with a bunch more, we kept counting and couldn’t believe there were over twenty. At a certain point we walked right near a few of them, young ones, and only when we crunched some dry leaves underfoot did they look up.
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Short Beach — The Marshy Side…

Today I set out for a walk on the beach along the Long Island Sound at Short Beach in Smithtown, but when I got there, I decided to take a different path, and go around by the marsh to the other side of the place I went by kayak a few weeks ago. This is where the Nissequogue River actually empties into the Long Island Sound. Continue Reading →

Connetquot State Park — Sketching Deer

Another nice fall day, and i thought i might see some deer, but i really did hit the “jackpot” in the deer department today — i saw 11 of them. I took my regular trail loop and was just enjoying the fresh fall air when i saw the first group of deer not far from the treeline. Then quite a bit further along I saw an actual “family” of deer grazing together… a mother deer, a small deer which i assume was the baby, and then a large deer with imposing antlers which i assume is the father. I kept a bit of distance in case the mother thought i was too close to the baby. I don’t know how deer react (i know they aren’t bears, but i still wouldn’t want that big father deer charging me with those huge antlers, that is for sure)…
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Blydenburgh Town Park — Memory Lane

Just wanted to go for a quick walk this afternoon, so choose the nearest park. This place seemed so big when I was a kid, but now it seems quite small. Of course I will never forget it as the place where my Dad concluded we were definitely not the “outdoors-y” type — the decisive moment was when he slipped off a log and kind of fell into a muddy stream. That was “enough” for him, and it was the last time we all went together to do any kind of “nature” activity.
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Connetquot — Look Who Crossed My Path…

A perfect autumn morning, sun is shining, air is crisp and clear, it is the kind of day that makes you want to do stuff. Though I was a little slow getting started, as I spent some time debating with myself whether to come out for a hike at Connetquot or to go do some shopping. Continue Reading →

Connetquot — A chance encounter in the park…

photo-2So today i was inspired by the incredibly great weather to get out for a long long walk, working towards improving my trail endurance… Was up early, around 730am, and went to the nearby state park here on Long Island.

It was pretty empty so early on a Saturday morning in March, and i set off on a trail i had done before, planning to loop into a slightly longer trail further up. The skies were blue, and the sunlight filtered through the branches of the pine trees in sharp rays. All around were signs of spring. As well as some newly fallen trees — signs of a series of big storms that had effected this area only last week.

And i was just walking along enjoying the fresh air and morning light, when i had the sensation that i was not alone. It’s strange how you sense the presence of someone before you see them.

But i heard no one, and looking up ahead on the trail, i saw no one either… i stopped. i listened. then i looked around 360 degrees, and at about my 3 o’clock, across the woods, there were four deer. the deer stopped. they listened. they looked up at me… we stayed for a moment looking at each other, then they continued eating… i went to continue on my way, but my motion must have spooked the leader, and he took off running, and the others soon followed him running along the tree-line of the parallel trail.


photo-3I considered myself quite lucky to see the deer this morning, and smiling I continued my walk. Eventually i hit the intersecting trail, and followed it around. This trail was a bit swampier than the other one, and though the last rain was several days ago, there were still patches of thick mud to cross. I was near the river. There was a small path leading off the trail to the water’s edge, and I decided to go over and watch the ducks… Looking across the water, i saw them swimming in a row… They were awfully BIG ducks… I looked a bit closer, and realized they were not ducks… nor were they swans or geese… I stared at the movement and realized i was just seeing the heads above water… it was the DEER swimming across the river!!!!

I have never seen anything like that before (I didn’t even know deer could swim!!!!)… I waited until they got across, then waded up out of the water — just to be sure i really DID see deer swimming… and then i returned to the trail and finished my 4-mile loop. What an unexpected surprise!