Sunday, July 31, 2016

Exploring around Town on a Warm Weekend

It's been hot the last two weeks so some people are taking to the water.

This was a nice scene with a family out fishing and kayaking at Hope Lake today.  Other families were fishing from shore or hiking around the lake along Nells Rock Road.

There was a report of multiple trees blocking the Paugussett Trail north of Princess Wehnonah Drive.  It was a short hike in up in the Poets Section, but steep.  Here's the Before picture of a red oak that snapped and took out a hickory on the way down across the trail.

And here's the After Picture. It was warm work but the trail is cleared.  People should try to explore the Poet's Section of the Paugussett, it's a nice neighborhood trail in the White Hills.

After the clearing there was a quick stop at Eklund Garden on Oak Valley Road.  The flowers were looking great.

It's an unexpected spot along the Paugussett Trail, and you may find some good ideas for using native plants around your home. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Birchbank Trailhead Makeover

See the bench? It's so covered up with invasive Japanese Knotweed, it's hard to see. The photo was taken in 2015 before we began efforts to eradicate a vast area of knotweed at the beginning of the trail. The "after" photo is just below it. 

June 2015 "BEFORE" - all Japanese Knotweed
July 2016 - same spot "AFTER"
This spot has good sun, well-drained but moist soil with a neutral pH, so after the knotweed was mostly gone, some flowers were planted. 

Bee balm has been a big hit, attracting lots of hummingbirds and butterflies. The "After" photo doesn't do it justice since it wasn't in full bloom yet. The video is better. 

The deer like this one too much - Woodland Sunflower

Woodland Sunflower is a native that is found growing along roadsides, but the deer have just demolished it. This plant is often four or five feet tall. A few packets of free wildflower seeds were also planted, and some of those are coming up and blooming. Not bad!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gristmill Trail along the Far Mill River

It was a hot day, a day that only mad dogs and Englishmen (and clueless trail huggers) go out in the flaming heat. Fortunately the Gristmill Trail is a short, but scenic, path aside the Far Mill River, with access to fishing and a nice place for an easy stroll, and we started out early enough to get ahead of the mid day sun. Vegetation was beginning to impede walking, especially briers and invasive shrubs.

Click on photos to enlarge
Chris, Jim and Terry hack away at the weeds and brush
 While Rich pulled out the gas-powered hedge whacker, Jim went Old School on the brush.

We were a little soaked due to humidity at the end of the work party, but Gristmill is clear for those enjoying the Shelton Trails Marathon Challenge.

Gristmill Trail is accessed off Mill Street.  There is a parking pulloff near Judson Street that was recently improved by the City with millings, and another with a kiosk near the dam about a quarter mile northwest of Judson.  The trail includes the remains of old dams and mill stone foundations that date back to the settling of Shelton.  This trail is one of several spots along the larger Far Mill Greenway where the public can enjoy the river.

The Far Mill River is a short, but scenic destination on hot Summer Day

The Far Mill Watershed drains much of Shelton, with portions of Trumbull, Monroe and Stratford.  For more information on the river click on the hi-lighted link.  The outlet on the Housatonic River is between Sikorsky's and The Transfer Station. 

Thanks to volunteer Chris and Shelton Trails Committee members Jim, Terry and Richard for challenging the elements on this ungentle Saturday.

Monday, July 18, 2016

NOTICE: Trail Closures at Shelton Lakes

July 20 to August 26, 2016

Utility work to replace insulators will result in sporadic trail closures affecting the Shelton Lakes trail network between Buddington Road and Meadow Street. Closures are most likely Mon.- Friday between 7 am and 5 pm., as well as Saturday, August 13. 

Preliminary Schedule (subject to change)
Buddington Road area: 7/26 to 7/29 and 8/19 to 8/22
Oak Valley Rd area: 7/27 to 7/29 and 8/23 to 8/25
Shelton Ave area: 8/1 to 8/3 and 8/23 to 8/26
Independence Drive/Soundview/Wellington Court: 8/2 to 8/5, 8/19, and 8/22 to 8/23

By Date:
7/26 to 7/29 Buddington Road - Oak Valley

8/1 to 8/3 Shelton Ave 
8/2 to 8/5 Independence Drive-Soundview-Wellington Ct
8/19 to 8/22 Buddington
8/19, 8/22 to 8/23 Independence/Soundview/Wellington Ct
8/23 to 8/25 Oak Valley Road
8/23 to 8/26 Shelton Ave

Crews will be working up on the lines and there is the potential for items to fall. No lines will be down.  Closed sections will be marked off and will only affect the areas under the powerlines.
Updates will be posted on this blog. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Waggin' Trail

This was the second of our guided hikes following one of the Shelton Trails Marathon listed hikes. Called the "Dog Paw and Flower Path", it incorporated the Dog Paw Path, the Flower Path, and parts of the Rec path and the Paugussett Trail for a total of 1.6 miles.
Click on photos to enlarge  

We gathered at the Shelton Dog Park, where Terry (and Biscuit) outlined the hike plan

Starting up the Dog Paw Path

Crossing the power lines from the Rec Path to the Flower Path

Learning to use a map
We stopped at Eklund Garden for a break and to enjoy the native plants

At Hope Lake, Biscuit cooled off his paws

Not so for the kids...they had to settle for just looking

The serenity of the lake was a welcome break

Near the end of the hike

 It was a great day for a hike, the heat wave had not yet hit us, and we enjoyed the diversity of this route. Those participating in the Shelton Trails Marathon chalked up another length of track toward their goal. Hope to see you on the next hike!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Take the Shelton Trails Marathon Challenge

Many people have already started the 2016 Shelton Trails Marathon Challenge.  Anybody can do it, and you don't need a passport, thousands of dollars, a plane ticket to Brazil, or to even be an athlete.  You certainly don't need to get naked and run through the woods like the ancient Greeks (please don't - it's prohibited by the Open Space Ordinance).

You only need to get out and start walking.  It's that easy.

The 2016 Shelton Trails Marathon Challenge coincides with this year's Olympics.  A number of people know that we have trails in town, but they don't know all of them.  We want you to have fun exploring all that Shelton's greenways have to offer.  You just have to hike 13 routes totaling 26.2 miles between June and Thanksgiving, fill out a form saying when you hiked them, mail the form to the Shelton Conservation Commission, and you get a free unique pathtag medal suitable for putting on your favorite jacket, pack or whatever.  And you get to brag to your friends that you did a marathon.

You don't have to do all 26.2 miles at once, but you can.    You don't have to run the trails, but you can.  You don't have to take your dog, kids, or spouse along, but you can.  You can even do it walking backwards (bring a mirror).  You can do the hikes in any order, whenever you feel like it, take as long as you want between now and Thanksgiving. Take some cool pictures of caves, overlooks, wildlife, plants, friends, sunsets, sunrises, moonrises, or whatever looks fun and send them into the Shelton Conservation Commission.

Forms and Maps are on-line.  A series of guided hikes is also listed under the events page.  So channel your inner Phidippides and explore Shelton's trails and greenways this year.