Maromas Why Hike 2014 012
Earth Day Nature Hike: Hubbard Brook Park

Sunday April 19, 2015

Middletown Recreation & Community Services

On Sunday, April 19 at 10AM, ecotherapist Beth Lapin will be offering an Earth Day hike at Hubbard Brook Preserve in the Maromas part of town through Middletown’s Recreation Division.  We will explore this 75-acre  park protected by an easement from CL+P to CT Forest and Park Association. The Preserve offers protected habitat for plants and wildlife, with scenic vistas of the Connecticut River. The trip should last until approximately 11:30AM.Wear hiking shoes, bring a snack and water, camera, binoculars if desired. Children under age 16 must attend with an adult 18+.

Directions: Hubbard Brook Preserve, turn right onto River Rd, 2.5 miles off Aircraft Rd (exit 10 from Route 9 or off Saybrook Rd/Route 154); parking on left ~1 mile from River Rd/Aircraft Rd jctn

Or: take Route 9 or Route 154 to Aircraft Road (exit 10 from Route 9). Follow Aircraft Rd about 2.5 miles, turn right onto River Rd, parking on left ~1 mile from River Rd/Aircraft Rd jctn

Please email her (Beth@HealingNatureCT.com) if you are planning to join her. Questions that morning: 860 262 2788. This trip will be cancelled if inclement weather.

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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.

Haddam Reservoir 04.29.13 001Cherry and I were ready to start hiking again! This time, we decided to focus on trails in Haddam, her hometown. We used www.haddamtrails.org as our guide.

It turns out there were thirteen trails in town, of which we’d already hiked one as part of the Mattabessett Trail. There also were three in Cockaponset and we’d tried some of that already. So, today, we started with Higganum Reservoir Trail. A round-trip of about a mile and a half, we knew it wouldn’t take long.

It was a cloudy day with temperatures in the fifties, which made for a perfect hike. At 8:30, we parked at the north end of the reservoir to look at the spillway, comprised of large brownstone slabs. We then meandered through a nearby cemetery to reach Hull Avenue and locate the trailhead. We talked about Cherry’s upcoming retirement and issues related to continuation of her programs once she was gone. She also shared about a potential trip she might take to Buenos Aires in January, which sounded quite exciting.

We were disappointed that the trail was so far from the reservoir, so we bushwhacked down to it and tried to follow along. We did get a few nice views of the waterway, while we talked about the current state of my writing. I talked about an in-progress short story and challenges in completing it by Thursday and Cherry was encouraging about its plot line.

Haddam Reservoir 04.29.13 002 Seeing no clear way to continue along the reservoir, we returned to the trail and encountered two women walking three barking dogs. We were glad to move past them and find the source of the reservoir, a lovely stream flowing over rock outcrops. Reaching the other trailhead, we backtracked, staying on the official trail. Cherry asked about my recent trip to Stockholm and Denmark and I told her about the various foods and sights we’d seen. By then, we had returned to our parked car.

 Since it was still early, we decided to hike along the railroad tracks along the river in the center of town. Not an official trail, it crossed Higganum Cove (a superfund site containing PCBs, municipal solid waste, and asbestos.) before reaching the river. Being very low tide, we were able to explore the small beach before hiking north along the tracks. After a half hour, we turned and retraced our steps and returned to our cars at 11:30AM.

 Cherry hadn’t been to either of these areas, so we had a nice introduction to Haddam’s trails. To top it off, we decided to lunch at Mamma Roux’s on chili and gumbo. Cherry suggested a plan for future adventures that included selecting a Connecticut town and spending the day exploring trails, shops, and museums, and sampling a restaurant. I didn’t hesitate to agree. We’ll pick our first town after retirement at the end of June. Meanwhile, we’ll head back to Haddam in May to sample another trail or two.