Monday, October 28, 2019

Tahmore Trail Overlook Reroute

Reblazed Tahmore/Paugussett junction, northbound
The east half of the Tahmore loop trail has just been re-opened and expanded. The blue/yellow loop had not been maintained for several years pending rerouting decisions. The west half of the loop remains in poor shape, but will be rerouted in 2020.  Hikers can use the red-blazed connector trail to complete a loop of the east half of Tahmore Trail.

Updated map showing Tahmore Trail looping out to the scenic overlook
One goal of the reroute was to re-use a part of the Paugussett Trail that had been demoted a few years ago during a major reroute of that trail. A portion of that old route was being maintained as an unmarked spur to the scenic overlook. Another part of the old trail along the top of a cliff had been abandoned, although that hasn't stopped people from trying to walk it. This part of the trail follows the property line between Indian Well State Park and the Shelton Land Conservation Trust.
Closeup of the rerouted section.
The reroute also enlarges the Tahmore Trail loop and adds interest to the trail. The cliff top is a fun walk.

Heading up the old Paugussett towards the overlook
The overlook
New Blue/Yellow blaze at the overlook

Still on the old Paugussett, a former overlook.

New trail section
If you are hiking the loop clockwise, once the trail turns away from the cliff, you are on Land Trust property. It's a nice, gentle grade. One surprise when clearing this new section was finding a very old blue/yellow blaze.

Surprised to find an old blaze on this new route.

The trails in here have been rerouted multiple times for various reasons, including landowner wishes and concerns over safety and erosion.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Boehm Pond Trail Extension

On Saturday Morning, a committed band of trail volunteers braved briars, raspberries, and saplings to complete the extension of Boehm Pond trail out to Boehm Circle.  It was a long-standing goal of the City's to improve neighborhood access to a particularly nice open space on the west side of Shelton. 

A pedestrian easement "along the old woods road" out to Boehm Circle was created during the original subdivision.  The old woods road had quite a few saplings growing in it when the work party started, but fewer after we finished.

If you knew where to look you could find the trail.  But knowing where to look and easily finding a enjoyable trail to walk can be two very different things.  The volunteers took out logs, saplings, and cleared out the old road to create a clear trail corridor.  Bob Woods continued his quest to clear Shelton open spaces of trash, despite having a couple of saplings dropped on his noggin by some yahoo.  The last couple hundred feet out to the turnaround at the end of Boehm Circle were particularly lovely with a dense patch of interlocking briars about 10 feet tall that we had to get through.  Thank goodness for leather gloves, thick clothing and brushcutters.

Here is the entrance being punched out to Boehm Circle.  This entry provides local residents a way to access the network of trails in their neighborhood off Far Mill Street.  A variety of potential loops are now possible with road walks and trails in the area.  Some of the footing just off the circle may be a little rough at first due to a drainage ditch; but it will improve with use over time.

Boehm Pond Trail passes a scenic pond (currently being modified by beavers), Winthrop Woods Roads, Boehm Brook and the bridge above, and a network of trails out to Far Mill Street and the surrounding neighborhoods.  It's a very pretty spot to enjoy in the Fall.  Thanks to Paul, Mark, Ryan, Vince, Val, Jim, Graham, Bob and Terry for helping out.

Helpful Trail Safety Tip:  Mind the Acorns going Downhill, or you may be on a roll.  Feel free to toss a few sticks off the trail when you can. 

Happy Trails from your Shelton Trails Committee.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Boehm Pond Updates

Updated map shows the new trail blazes
The blazes at Boehm Pond were recently changed in order to help hikers navigate the trail system. Part of the Yellow Trail and all of an unmarked old road were blazed red.   At the far end, the old road crosses over private property via a pedestrian easement that extends to Farmill Street, making it possible for people in the neighborhood to walk a loop using a combination of city roads and trails.

Red blazes should help hikers figure out where they are
In addition to blazing the previously unmarked old road, the northern section of the Yellow Trail was reblazed to red. Previously, the Yellow Trail intersected with the White Trail in multiple locations and that could be confusing. Now, when you come to a trail junction, the colors will be unique to that particular junction. There is only one intersection with the Red and White Trails, for example. If you come to the place where red blazes go one way and white blazes go under, it's easy to glance at the trail map and know exactly where you are.

Junction of Red and Yellow Trails.
Freshly fallen leaves obscure the trail tread.
The yellow blazes are also getting freshened so that the trail is easier to follow when the ground is covered with fresh leaves or snow. This particular trail system is great for snowshoeing. 

Boehm Pond flooded by beaver (see the double yellow blaze?)
Meanwhile, beaver have built a dam across Boehm Brook next to Winthrop Woods Road, and the pond has grown considerably. It's surface area may have doubled or even tripled, although it's hard to say.  It used to be possible to walk over a bridge to the far shore, but that is all completely flooded now. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Paugussett Reroute at Wiacek

2019 Reroute - off the meadow and into the woods
Trail volunteers met last Saturday to give the Paugussett Trail yet another route tweak, this one near Meadow Street at the old Wiacek Farm (pronounce WHY-seck or WHY-a-seck). The purpose was to get more of the trail off of the hayfield, which gets quite overgrown during the summer before the hay is cut. The old trail route involved three turns in the hayfield, which made things even more challenging when the grass was four feet tall. The new route crosses the hayfield directly and dives back into the woods, making things simpler for the hiker.
The biggest challenge was punching through the wall of raspberry, rose, and poison ivy that lines the hayfield.

The new route crosses an intermittent stream which will probably need a bridge, and the entire wooded area can be wet during certain parts of the year and could use treadway improvements such as "hardening" with rock and sections of bog walks. The meadow along the old route was also quite wet and sometimes there would be an inch or two of water on the grass many days after the latest rainfall. Either way, it's just a wet area that has to be crossed.

New woodland section
There is now about 220 feet less trail in the hayfield to worry about in June. The woodland section will need work once the rains hit, but that work can be done year round. June overgrowth is a real problem because it happens all at once and is a real challenge to keep clear.

New section blazed, old section blocked  with sticks
Old-time trail users should pay attention to the new blazes on the trees (as always, when there is a double blaze, the higher blaze indicates the direction of a turn).