Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Pearmain Path

Nicholdale Farm (Land Trust) and the new trail to Pearmain Rd.
Some years ago, the City of Shelton was awarded a grant from the State of Connecticut to purchase the developments rights for a wooded property just south of the Land Trust's Nicholdale Farm. The grant included a right, yea, a requirement even, for the City to construct a public hiking trail through the property from the Scout camp at Nicholdale Farm to Pearmain Road, closely following the Iroquois gas pipeline.  Somewhere through the sands of time, the trail requirement was lost, and only became known again when the State called and asked about it. Long story short, we now have a new trail.

The trail starts at the Nicholdale Scout Camp. We'll begin our tour by looking at the new outhouse there, because it's a fine looking outhouse. It was an Eagle Scout project, and here's a link to a picture of the construction, although I don't have the names of those involved.

New facilities at the Scout Camp

This is pretty luxurious compared to what was here before. 

Scout Camp at Nicholdale
There is a loop trail that passes right through the middle of the Scout camp, and one simply follows that a very short ways south out of the camp looking for the yellow square blazes that mark the new trail veering off to the right while the Nicholdale trail curves left. The yellow squares quickly crosses over the stone wall that marks the end of Nicholdale Farm and you are now entering private property.

The beginning of the yellow squares that lead to Pearmain Road
CAUTION:  Hunting is allowed on this property, and there are signs on the trail saying so.  Wear bright colors, especially if it's hunting season, you are hiking within a few hours of dawn or dusk, and it's a Saturday. Hunting is allowed on many of the properties that surround the Nicholdale Farm property, and property lines are not always easy to identify (for hikers or hunters), so it's safest to always just wear bright colors in the fall. 

Wear bright colors, like this "blaze orange" fleece jacket from Cabelas.
The trail is only about a quarter mile long. It's still a bit rough and needs more clearing for sight lines, but it's good enough to follow for now.  The trail follows the Iroquois Gas Pipeline, staying just far enough from the pipeline to avoid thickets and bad footing.

Follow the yellow squares.

After a couple of stream crossings (bridges will be needed), the trail pops out onto Pearmain. This road is paved coming in from Birdseye Road, but the last 200 yards before the trailhead is a compacted crushed stone. It's good enough for regular cars, but you might think it's a driveway, especially since you pass through a gate (apparently always open) where the pavement ends. After the trailhead and the gas pipeline, the road is extremely rough and suitable only for 4WD vehicles with insane drivers. It's a City road, and we aren't sure what the story with the gate is, but it probably has to do with attempts to stop illegal dumping vs the need for property owners to access their land.

Pearmain Road at the trailhead.
There is room to park where the gas pipeline crosses Pearmain, assuming that gate is open. Note that there were several large pickups parked there today with hunters. Don't forget to wear those bright colors!

Will anyone want to hike out to Pearmain? Only time will tell. You can actually continue walking south on Pearmain Road because it's certainly not fit to drive on. Long range plans have included a possible regional trail that would encompass this route.