Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hiking the Bluff Walk

Click on photos to enlarge

The Shelton Trails Committee conducted another guided hike open to all, this month on the Bluff Walk, overlooking the Housatonic River. This trail extends along the length of Riverside Park and varies between rolling, wooded terrain broken by short open areas, and can be negotiated as a round-trip or, for the hardier hiker, a loop that follows the railroad tracks just above the river bank and the old canal. In spite of the questionable weather, around 15 folks, young and old, joined us to enjoy the trail and at the same time pick up any litter along the way. Litter bags were provided and the promise of bubble soap after the hike was an added incentive to the kids, and probably to some of the adults as well!

Lynn, our hike meister for this trip, briefs everyone on the nature of this trip, and hands out litter bags to all.

Folks were fastidious in picking up everything in sight, almost to a fault. Perhaps a chipmunk or two found themselves suddenly thrust into a bag along with the sandwich wrappers and soda cans!

The kids seemed especially eager to participate in the activities.

A brief rest at the Ousatonic Dam overlook gave Terrance, our tour guide, the opportunity to describe the operation of the dam, the canal and it's locks.

The Ousatonic Dam

Part of the trail runs behind the park's ballfields. Emma, not satisfied with climbing the slopes of the Bluff, climbs mini-Mt. Everest.

Litter bearers.

Cleaning up behind one of the ball fields.

Terrance points out the "Constitution Oak Tree", grown from a seedling from the original Charter Oak, Connecticut's most famous tree, in which the colony's charter was hidden from the British. This tree grows right near the Bluff Walk Trail.

At the end of the park and the upper reaches of the trail, a couple of brave souls opted to walk the loop rather than the easier route back to our starting point. Actually, they could be mistaken for a pair of young runaways seeking adventure by riding the rails! But they did get to experience a closer look at the river and the dam before climbing back up to rejoin the less ambitious group blowing bubbles at the starting point.

In all, it was a fun hike, and all who participated appeared to enjoy the walk as well as take pride in having helped clear out some of the litter and bring back some of the beauty of our environment. Join us next month for an Autumn hike on The Tahmore Loop trail, scheduled for 2:00 PM, October 17!

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