Friday, May 31, 2013

How to get from Indian Well to Shelton Lakes

Here are a couple aerials showing the Blue Trail (future Paugussett Trail extension) from the Falls parking area at Indian Well State Park south to Silent Waters at Shelton Lakes.  This is the hike for Trails Day 2013 on June 1 (see events listings at right). 

Indian Well to the meadows of Wiacek 
The Indian Well Falls parking area (click here for location) is the first parking lot on the right after you to turn onto Indian Well Road from Route 110, next to a meadow and a cross street that leads to a neighborhood called "the Maples." There will be a large brown and yellow sign across the street from the parking area telling you not to climb on the rocks, and a very wide unblazed trail leading past it to the falls, which is not far from the road. 

From the parking area, look south for the blue blazes to cross the meadow and head into the woods. Be careful crossing Route 110!  The walk up the hill towards Meadow Street is pleasant and not too steep, although you will find a reroute in progress, and then come out onto the pavement at the end of Mayflower Lane.  There is a break in the trail here, so walk up the pavement of Mayflower all the way to Meadow Street and walk around the gate to pick up the blue blazes again at the fields of the Wiacek open space. This section can get pretty wet. Cross the first meadow, enter the woods, hug the right side of the second meadow, and then follow the utility road and cross Const. Blvd No. 

Wiacek Meadows to Silent Waters and Middle School
There's another reroute in progress between Wellington Court and Independence Drive which takes the trail off of the powerlines, so you'll be on the powerline road at times and going through the woods parallel to the powerlines at others, until you finally turn off the powerlines for good and head towards the Middle School. The blue blazes join up with the white blazes of Turkey Trot Trail and then you come out on the gravel Rec Path. Left leads to the Turkey Trot trailhead parking.  Go right to walk along the top of the two old dams, with glimpses of the Middle School across the street, and arrive at the Silent Waters overlook. From there, turn around and go back the way you came, or you may have a ride spotted at the Middle School. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blue Trail Reroute

A 3/4 mile section of the Blue Trail (future Paugussett Trail extension) has just been rerouted in the vicinity of Shelton Ave (Rt. 108).  The new route gets the trail off of the powerlines and also avoids a stretch that closely paralleled Shelton Ave and was subject to traffic noise. See a Google map of the reroute. Northbound, the new section begins near the Hope Lake dam.  Instead of turning west towards the powerlines, the trail now crosses Shelton Ave near the Dog Park and joins the Rec Path and Turkey Trot Trail to cross the Silent Waters bridge, with great views.  It stays on the Rec Path/Turkey Trot for about 1/3 mile, following the top of the old dams, then takes a sharp left off of the Rec Path with Turkey Trot Trail (blazed white) and angles up the hill towards the powerlines.  The only new created section of trail turns right off of Turkey Trot towards the powerlines, but instead of coming out directly onto the powerline gap, the new trail follows the powerlines northbound just inside the tree line for a ways before coming out into the clearing near Independence Drive. 

A few other minor reroutes are underway, including the stretch between Independence Drive and Wellington Court, and another section just north of Mayflower Lane. 

New section of trail that parallels the powerlines.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Walk in the Sun (not!)

Spring of this year has presented some unpredictable and unseasonable weather, this weekend following the pattern. It was a cool and misty day, but we had a decent turnout for our Springtime Bridge-to-Bridge hike. Participants were up to the challenge, and we had a pleasant guided hike, expertly narrated by Terrance Gallagher, potential National Park Ranger. Thanks to the diligent work of the Shelton Trail Committee members present, no persons or pets were lost along the way this time, to the best of our knowledge.

Click on photos to enlarge

Pete and son lead the way with their trusted pooches
Native Pinxter Azalea growing along the Rec Path
Folks, kids, and pets. Lynn and her three fur people protected the group from Mountain Lions and Grizzlies

No, that's not a wolf in ambush! It's one of us, stopping for a drink at Basil Brook. She could do this...we couldn't

The intrepid hikers, minus Sandie, Lynn, and Lynn's furry followers

Sandie came prepared for the deluge, which thankfully never transpired. But she was protected from coconuts and meteorites!

In all, it was an enjoyable trek, a bit over 4 miles, that the participants appeared to enjoy. Those who stayed home fearing rain missed a fun hike. Hope we see you at our next trail venture!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blooming Springtime

A lot of Spring trees, shrubs & flowers are in bloom right now; as people's allergies can well attest to.

The dogwood trees along the Mohegan Road Open Space were doing quite well this past week.  If you're driving in the vicinity of Booth Hill Road you may see them.

The daffodils along the RecPath over by the Shelton Dog Park were also striking.  They are a little gone by with now, but the flowers in the main garden will be coming along in the coming months.

There were a variety of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees blooming on today's hike along the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path - but there will be more photos on that later.  A lot of the flowers stood out due to the overcast skies and misty weather.

The Eklund Native Species Garden is also in bloom.  Stop by the garden on Oak Valley Lane to see the garden - and remember to close the gates so the deer don't eat everything.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mending Fences With Many Hands

Trail volunteers got a lot done yesterday under cloudy Spring skies.  We repaired several broken fence rails along the Recreation Path & Turkey Trot Trail, and made further trail improvements on the new Paugussett Trail Extension.

We had a fine turn out of Shelton High School students that were helping on the trail;  Marco Pieger, Elida Paiz & Wesley Kocurek are shown with Jim & Rich after they got done benching a portion of the Paugussett into the hillside.  This piece of the trail relocation was roughed out last week and connects the Paugussett with the Turkey Trot Trail.  Now we just need to paint the trail blazes.

A lot of the fence rails on top of the dams at Silent Waters are rotting.  We are gradually replacing the worst ones a few at a time due a limited budget.  At least today we could move the fence posts to slide in the new rails.  Here Wesley is giving one post a few loving taps with a 12 lb. sledgehammer to motivate it into the right spot.

Helpful Trail Tip:  ALWAYS buy pressure-treated fence rails when doing a trail project.  It may seem like a good deal to save some money and get the plain rails, but you'll spend more time and expense down the road with maintenance.

Some of the rails needed adjustments to fit on the curves.  Here Jim is doing some field tapering on one of the ends using a hatchet.  Next time we'll have to bring an adze.  Notice that most of the Trail Committee was standing behind Marco because they've seen Jim work before. 

Then a little more fine tuning and the new rails were set back into place.

We have other places where we have fences that use pressure treated lumber for the rails and they've held up fine for years.  We've had to repair storm damage when trees have fallen on them, but other than that we've had few problems.  This particular set of fences is a little different.  Now that the RecPath is complete as a linear park maybe Parks & Recreation or a contractor should be repairing these fences so volunteers don't have to do all the maintenance.

Elida was taking out some brush along the top of the dam in addition to fence repair and trail digging.  The RecPath runs along the top of a historic dam that once supplied much of downtown Shelton's drinking water but now it's got some unique plants that grow along it.  There were a few patches of blue wildflowers along the route and probably some Jack-in-the Pulpits in bloom now.

We got a lot done, had another safe and fun work party, and handed out some of the new caps.  Thanks to everybody who came and helped out.

We've been working on the Paugussett Trail a lot lately trying to get it in shape for Trails Day.  Come out and enjoy the trails and see all the work that has been done.  Join us on the 5/19 for the RecPath hike & ride, our next work party on 5/25, and the Paugussett Trail Extension opening on 6/1 for National Trails Day.  Enjoy your trails and open spaces.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Great Spring Weekend on the Trails

It was beautiful on Shelton's trails and open spaces this past weekend.  People were out taking advantage of the nice Spring weather & volunteers were everywhere.  People were working on trails, building bridges, cleaning up trash; it was an impressive community turn-out.

This fisherman was using the fishing platform at Hope Lake on Nells Rock Road.  The platform stone path is actually a large stone slab that was installed as part of an Eagle Scout project a few years ago to provide better public access to the lake.

Other fishermen had taken up positions around the Lake.  There were dogs out walking their people on the RecPath, hikers and bikers on the trails, picnickers, and neighbors just enjoying a Spring Day.

The Trails Committee had 2 crews doing trail construction on the Paugussett Trail Extension, but more on that later.  We had an excellent turn-out of High School students helping us.

A number of Eagle Scouts and their team were moving several telephone poles from the Dog Park over to Buddington Road.  Tom Harbinson volunteered the use of his trailer to help move the poles.  The Scouts are building a bridge across a swamp as part of a Paugussett Trail extension between John Dominick Drive and Buddington Road.