On Saturday, May 3, Beth Lapin will be offering a hike on Higby Mountain as part of the City of Middletown’s rescheduled Earth Day Celebration. We will have a rare opportunity to access the Mattabesett Trail through the city’s water department lands that include Higby and Adder Reservoirs.

Come join her for a three+ hour moderate walk up the eastern flank of the ridge, along the top, where we can snack, and then continue our loop to the water treatment building.

Wear hiking shoes (some wet areas), bring a snack and water, camera, binoculars if desired.

Directions: on Route 66, about a quarter-mile west of the junction with Higby Road (Red Dog Saloon), look for an unmarked driveway on the right (north) with an orange cone that leads to the reservoir. Follow it to the buildings, where there are restrooms and parking.

Please let her know (Beth@HealingNatureCT.com) if you are planning to join us. Questions: 860 398 4470; that morning: 860 262 2788.

Healing Nature WATER 06.21.12 004In our hectic world, discover the calming, peaceful benefit of nature. In this program, we will use our senses to strengthen our connection with the natural world and be introduced to several techniques to help relax and let go of daily stress. In addition, we will use our creative outlets such as writing, drawing, music/sound, and movement, to express our experiences and address weekly environmental topics. Come explore what nature can do for you and what you can give back!

Register online at www.middletownct.gov/webtrac, or at Middletown Park and Recreation, 100 Riverview Center, #140, $65 for four sessions, Thursday evenings, May 1, 8, 15, 22. Questions: Beth@HealingNatureCT.com or 860 398 4470.  2014 Healing Nature Class Registration Form

Route 81 loop 006Ever wondered if plants communicate or how they are so successful? An excellent and thought-provoking program on PBS explores What Plants Talk About. Check it out!

According to PBS: “When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought!”

Beth in WESU recording studioBeth Lapin, EcoTherapist, was interviewed on Helen Evrard’s Mind Matters program on Wednesday, March 26 at 6:00pm on WESU FM, 88.1, Middletown;WESU check out the replay

Nature Hikes through Middletown Park & Rec

Spring Nature Walk

Wednesday, April 16
11:00 a.m., no charge, Wadsworth State Park, Middlefield, CT; Dress for the weather. Educational walk on the trails of Wadsworth State Park. Children under age 16 must attend with an adult 18+. Register through Park and Rec (Please use 2014 Spring Nature Walk Registration Form)

Questions? email Beth@HealingNatureCT.coom

Healing Nature WATER 06.21.12 004Healing Nature Sessions

Thursdays, May 1,8,15,& 22
6:30-8:00 PM
Ron McCutcheon Park, Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT

In this program, we will use our senses to strengthen our connection with the natural world. You will be introduced to several techniques to help you relax and let go of your daily stress. In addition, we will use our creative outlets such as writing, drawing, music/sound, and movement, to express our experiences and address weekly environmental topics. Come explore what nature can do for you and what you can give back!

Email Beth@HealingNatureCT.com for more information.

Swan Hill 06.26.13 001It was hazy. It was hot. And it was humid. But Cherry and I, along with a million or so mosquitoes, trekked the Swan Hill preserve in Higganum. We began June 26, at 8:30AM, parking at Haddam Elementary School during the first week of summer vacation and the first (unofficial) week of Cherry’s retirement. We skirted the playing fields and entered the woods at the northern most trailhead. We started our conversation with a discussion about communication and its challenges.

We hadn’t walked far before we crossed a Bible Rock Brook, looking lovely and refreshing today. WeSwan Hill 06.26.13 003 climbed uphill to reach 240-foot Swan Hill and amazing views of the Connecticut River. We enjoyed the small bench at the top and continued assessing the pluses and minuses of several situations we were confronting. We were interrupted by a shout from a hiker, who turned out to be a church friend of Cherry’s and her two dogs. After a fun conversation, they continued on their way and we sat a bit longer before continuing in the opposite direction.

The trail map (available at http://haddamtrails.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/SwanHill.pdf) did not include all the options on the ground. But we meandered around and were always surprised to discover where we ended. It was virtually impossible to get lost, but we were rarely certain where we were.

We enjoyed the second vista that overlooked Higganum and the reservoir, where we had hiked earlier. By 10:30 we were happy enough to find ourselves again at the main trail junction and headed back to the cars, taking the more southerly trail back to the school playing fields.

This may be the last of our Haddam trail hikes. We have set up our next adventure to be in the town of Deep River, and will take a day to explore some of its historical, natural, and cultural amenities.

Route 81 loop 002On Monday, Cherry and I continued our Haddam trails visits with a hike at what is called Route 81 loop. We found the trailhead on the north side of Beaver Brook Road, west of the junction with Route 9, and began our hike around 8:45AM. It was cool and gray as we crossed a gently flowing stream and wandered through dense vegetation. The trail was initially distinct and we had a map. Keep to the left, we decided, in order to avoid inadvertently leaving the main trail and ending up at one of the other parking areas.

 Cherry talked about nearing retirement and all the activities she’d been pursuing. Between church variety shows and a Master Gardener trip to the Cloisters, symphony performances and trying to clean out her files, she had been quite busy. She affirmed that this was the right decision for her and we laughed about how the timing evolved.

Route 81 loop 003

We found a live oak peppered with pileated woodpecker holes and trekked through large laurel thickets. We had surprise eye delights of swamp pink and lady’s slippers along the way. Cherry said she’d decided not to travel to Buenos Aires, but would be joining a church group to the Holy Land in February. She would have plenty of time to renew her passport and have something to look forward to all winter.

Route 81 loop 007We crossed several small streams cascading over bedrock. With newly emerged leaves, the mixture of colors and patterns, combined with bird calls, the trail was enticing. I managed to discover yet another tick imbedded in me (that made three over the past 24 hours) and another crawling on me. I talked about progress with my city project to convert an old school to a senior center and the improved health of the 90 year old woman I assist (after a fall and stint at the hospital, she was now at the rehab center).

The area was delightful, showing little sign of overuse. However, in a few sections, more bright green trail markings would have been useful, and perhaps a sign indicating the direction of the side trail to parking. After about two hours, we’d returned to the car parked on Beaver Meadow Road, completing a 2.7 mile loop. True confessions? We stopped by a local shop in Higganum to grab a snack, sit at an outside table, relax together, and schedule our next trip.

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