Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Our Favorite Walks Part 3: Mike Flament

This post is part of a continuing series describing the Trails Committee members favorite jaunts along Shelton's thirty miles of trails. There are many types of trails located across the city, from the handicapped-accessible Rec Path to the rugged Paugussett Trail. 

A Trail for Three Seasons, by Michael Flament

Judging by the frequency of my hiking it, my favorite Shelton hike begins at the Abbey Wright entrance to Nells Rock Trail, located across from Chordas Pond and the L’Hermitage condominiums (GPS #160 Nells Rock Road). There are many options starting at this trailhead, from a quickie 25-minute loop when you are running late to a multi-mile hike over trails less traveled by. I started hiking this trail many years ago, when I had two dogs to walk in the morning before work. Now that I am retired, the longer hikes have more appeal.

Five minutes out from the trailhead, the white-blazed Nell’s Rock Trail arrives at “Four Corners” and your options begin...

Four Corners, many possibilities 
  • To the left and right is the blue-blazed Paugussett Trail, which spans a distance of 13 miles from East Village Road in Monroe in the north to Buddington Road at the southern-most part of the Shelton Lakes Greenway. The Paugussett is part of CFPA's 825-miles system of  "Connecticut Blue Blazed Trails." Turn right to visit Eklund Garden, where a wide variety of native flora are on display about fifteen minutes from the trailhead. Thirty minutes from the trailhead will get you to pine-tree-lined Hope Lake with its picnic tables and fishing access. Hope Lake is stocked with trout each spring and also supports native largemouth bass and sunfish.
  • Hikers and bikers can quickly -- within five to ten minutes -- continue straight to jump on Shelton’s four-mile Rec Path, at roughly the halfway point between Pine Lake and Huntington Center. The Rec Path is wheelchair accessible, and mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and even road bikes can manage the terrain, except in icy or snowy weather.
  • Looking for a quiet hike, you can continue following the white blazes of Nells Rock Trail around the loop. You just might spot deer in the mornings or the occasional coyote at dusk. A little further down the trail is the junction with Basil Brook Bypass, which travels an equally quiet, if a bit more rigorous, hiking path that in some years at least provides a  view of a mini-cascade as the snow melts in the spring.

From the Four Corners junction,
there are many possibilities to choose from
For people new to Shelton’s trails or new to hiking, Nells Rock Trail is a good jumping off point to the wide range of hikes available on thirty miles of  trails in Shelton. Maps of these trails can be accessed at www.sheltonconservation.org/recreation/shelton_trails.html
Plenty of parking for the Nells Rock Trail is available at the trailhead.

Caveat Hiker: The area near the Nells Rock trailhead tends to be damp in the spring and it gets quite buggy in late spring and summer months (summer is the season to avoid). The quicker one gets out to the Four Corners meeting of the Paugussett and Nells Rock Trails, the fewer insect bites you are likely to get. 

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