Eagle Scout project

Cherry and I continued our exploration of the Menunkatuck Trail, by starting at the parking lot on Route 80 and hiking north to where we had left my car near Race Hill Road. The entrance was well designed and inviting, although I steered Cherry away from the information board that showed this trail, the Mattabasett and the rest of the blue trails connecting northerly through various states to Canada. “Oh, don’t look at that,” I joked. “Don’t want you to get any ideas. But this trail, when it’s completed will go south to Long Island Sound.”

“I’d like that,” Cherry gave back to me, with a grin.

Today’s section was only 1.8 miles, with an additional half-mile to the car at Race Hill Road, and we covered it easily and quickly. Turns were well marked and the walk was quite pleasant. So was our conversation. Cherry and I talked initially about the challenge of ending a relationship when it wasn’t working. Whether a romantic situation or a work connection, we both tended to stay longer than necessary, at least in hindsight. Cherry thought it was because we were hopeful—optimistically looking for positive change. I wondered if it was our efforts to be gentle and develop a graceful exit.

This stretch of the trail was almost completely in Cockaponset State Forest, our confusing friend from previous weeks. But this was obvious, mostly level, and enjoyable. We crossed a lovely constructed bridge, although there was little water in the stream below. Cherry talked about ending a potential relationship that never really quite got off the ground and I shared that our writing group, that I’d been in for three years, had hit a bump and I was taking a break. I also shared frustration with my ecotherapy certification efforts with two different venues, some other avenues that were opening, and an experience with a tree whisperer.

Before we could finish our topics, we were back at the car. Later, over refreshments, we explored concepts that would support a tree whisperer’s connection with trees. All interesting material and we parted, ready to meet again for the next section of trail and our lives.

Cherry and I hiked on Friday for the first time in months. We got rained out of a previous date and then Cherry’s sister had eye surgery, so she wasn’t available. But Friday, sunny with a cool start, was a perfect day for an excursion. We decided to drop frustrating Cockaponsett, at least for a while, and explore Field Forest, owned by Connecticut Forest & Park Association, in Durham.

Wearing newly-delegated-to-hiking pants, Cherry explained her hairdresser had found a tick a few weeks prior, so she was wearing lighter pants. (Interestingly, I discovered a tick the following day on my left calf at my sock line.) Off we went, with much to discuss.

We followed the main trail that generally encircled the 150-acre tract. Most was fairly flat, with a gentle slope to start. After an update on Cherry’s sister’s surgery, we moved on to cover relationships. I was at a dead standstill, while Cherry was at least conversing with an interesting potential.

We had to circumnavigate numerous blowdowns, possibly from the October snow. We were delighted to see wild geranium still in flower, as most other spring flowers had come early this year. Filled with fully-leafed trees, the walk was lovely. We scared up a red-tail hawk that streamed past us through the forest. I brought Cherry up to date on my activities since our last hike. I had held two signing events for my novel and was trying to publish a second book. My ecotherapy work was gaining momentum and I had just signed up to take a NatureConnect class with Mike Cohen.

The final leg led past a vernal pool, an area I had visited a few weeks prior with Women of the Woods. At that time, the pool was teaming with tadpoles but, today, its edges were lined with green frogs, each giving a little shriek, as it plunked back into the safety of the water.

When we returned to our cars, we agreed to try Cockaponsett again for June. Wish us luck!