Saturday, June 3, 2023

Revisiting the Paugussett Relo near Buddington

View from the new trail location

Late last fall, the Trails Committee & volunteers relocated a section of the Paugussett Trail in order to get it away from some towers that were going to be replaced in 2023.  The original route used the access road for a bit and then went directly under one of the old towers. The relocation has allowed the trail to remain open at the south end near Buddington Road during Eversource's "Pootatuck Rebuild Project," and the new route is working out  pretty well. There's even a nice mountain laurel show going on right now. 

The original route went right beneath the tower

The new route crosses the powerline corridor a bit to the north of the original route, down at the bottom of a ledge outcrop instead of up on top where the towers are. There is no utility access road in this stretch, since the next set of towers are accessed from the opposite direct (Oak Valley).  So there is a clearing, and lines overhead, but no road. Here's what it looks like now: 

The new route begins (northbound)

Crossing under the powerlines

Crossing the powerline corridor below the ledge

Trail goes through the laurel tunnel

Back in the trees

Trails Day 2023; Housatonic Woods Preserve

We had a great inaugural hike on Woodsend Trail for CT Trails Day.  The weather cooperated and it was cool and breezy rather than raining.  The Connecticut Forest and Parks Association was coordinating hundreds of outdoor events around the state this weekend.

The starting point was at the Woodsend Avenue trailhead.  There were 22 people plus 3 dogs from Shelton, Monroe, Ansonia, and Stratford.  We had good representation from the Shelton Trails Committee, Conservation Commission and Shelton Land Trust on the hike, and at least one neighbor who joined us.

The new trail was built this spring following purchase by the City of an open space property from a local family.  That parcel connected several other open space properties, including a Shelton Land Trust parcel with the Paugussett Trail, which allows for a larger band of open space; hence the new Housatonic Woods Preserve and Woodsend Trail.

There were plenty of take aways at the sign up station, with Royal Bakery doughnuts, and including previous blog posts of all the great work by volunteers in constructing the new trail.

And we got away just after 10:30.   We split into 2 groups for various speeds on the moderately difficult hike.

Mike Flament made sure none of us got lost on the way in acting as sweeper.  The trail tread was mostly dry, with a few wet spots.  The vegetation had grown in some during the last two weeks, and the views of the Housatonic River were mostly green now.  We did note the old charcoal mound and the areas of the previous debris removal looked great.

Everyone got thru the "Tangerine Squeezer" OK.  

There were a number of stone wall crossings along the hillside.

Ellen Cramp was leading over some of wetland crossings.

A lot of trail work had been done this spring to make the trail tread easier to walk.  When the water is running you can hear it going underground.

All the blow downs had been cleared and all the little stream crossings seemed in good shape.

There were a lot of areas along the Paugussett Trail with much more light coming thru the tree canopy.  The Beech Leaf Wilting Disease is taking a toll on the beech trees.  The beech leaves get all wilted and fall off, and it's thought we may loose all our beech trees in the next few years. This is on top of Beech Bark Disease, which has been afflicting the trees for years. 

Joe Welsh from the Shelton Land Trust was explaining some of the problems facing the beech trees and how their loss might impact the composition of Connecticut's forests.

There were a lot of nice sights along the trail.  A bobcat was spotted at the detention ponds below Sinsabaugh Heights after the first group went thru.  It was camera shy and bounded up the hill before we could get a picture of it.

We stopped and admired all the work done by trail volunteers in the boulderfield and along the switchback on the way back to the trail head.  It makes for a very nice 2 mile loop with lots of connections to various neighborhoods.

Lee and everyone else made it back thru the Tangerine Squeezer.  The Squeezer is a little easier to navigate going back uphill.  It's a moderately challenging trail, with a lot of interesting spots.  

After the hike we let everyone know that Celebrate Shelton was having a Food Trucks on the River event on the Riverwalk in downtown Shelton.

Some hikers ventured down to enjoy the bands, vendors, and food trucks.  It was a festive way to finish a Trails Day hike.  Nice that that was scheduled for the same weekend as Trails Day.

Also after the hike, after putting away some of the gear in the Shelton Trails Barn.  I noticed some guy attacking the Japanese knotweed along Nells Rock Road near the Barn.  It turned out to be Bob Woods, who decided to get rid of some invasive species on Trails Day.  Good work Bob.

It was a successful 2023 Trails Day.  We christened a new trail, folks got to do some exploring, saw some wildlife, and we didn't loose too many hikers.