Connetquot — shades of grey

Posted on March 3, 2012

The weather was not very encouraging today. It was rainy and wet all morning, only starting to dry up a little late in the afternoon. That didn’t leave much time for a long walk, so I decided to just go to Connetquot to do a short loop. I chose to try a bit of the blue trail, which I have never taken before. The whole blue loop is quite long and goes to the very end of the park and then back around, but there are a number of points along the path that intersect with shortcuts back to the shorter red and green trails. It was about 2pm when I started, and I needed to be back before the park closed at 4:30pm.

The trail was a bit muddy, and it went through an area of the park that is more “swampy,” with lots of little waterways in the middle of trees and brush. I noticed for the first time that there were a lot of bits of fallen trees, with roots exposed, half submerged in the water here. Maybe it was the dull grey sky, but the landscape looked a bit bleak and depressing. And stranger still was that the first segment of the trail is exactly the same as the last segment of a trail I take very often, but perhaps because I am coming from the other direction I am seeing the same landscape very differently. Or maybe it is the grey skies that has me noticing different details today.

I walked along in solitude. The woods were quiet and I could hear the running water of the little streams that connected these swampy areas. The water itself looked black. And all around the dead grey of winter, bare branches entwined with vines and rotten tree stumps. In one clearing piles of cut logs lay discarded, probably part of the regular trail maintenance that makes this park such a wonderful place to come walking most days. Today was less splendid. The weather had its effect, though I kept going despite the squishing sound of the muddy earth beneath my feet.

Stop. No Trespassing. In the middle of the park, someone had put up signs and barriers. Strange. Though perhaps it is to protect a section of the preserve (there are often signs posted that indicate an area is closed because of a fragile path, or nesting of such and such a species, though usually the sign states cleary why it is closed). In any case, I turned and took the other fork path, a straight wide path thru a more typically “forested” part of the park. This way seemed lighter. It seems the sun was breaking through the cloud cover a bit, and light was beginning to trickle through, bringing color back to the landscape.

I walked on, looking for a path that should be coming up on my left, which was a shortcut back towards the red trail and out of the park. It was already 3pm, so I had to turn back soon, if I didn’t find the shortcut, otherwise I would possibly have my Jeep locked in the park, or even more embarrasing, they might send a ranger out to look for me! I gave myself fifteen minutes more.

I spotted the turn off from a distance, and relieved, I could once again enjoy my walk. By the time I was back to the red trail, headed in the direction of the parking area, the sun had come out, and the sky was transformed to a brilliant blue. The lake now glistened in the light, with all its familiar beauty. I made it back to the Jeep with ten minutes to spare…

ITINERARY: Blue Trail east then north to a mid-way cutoff path back to Red Trail headed south (total time roughly 2 hours) | WEATHER: 52F, started off cloudy and wet, ended up clearing and sunny.

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