Sunday, April 19, 2009

CT Blue Blazed Trails

There are over 800 miles of official CFPA "Blue-Blazed" trails in Connecticut (sometimes also called "Blue-Dot" trails), shown on this map (click to enlarge). I'm surprised how often people refer to any one of these particular trails as "the blue trail" as if it didn't have a name and was no different than any other local trail. Would you refer to the Appalachian Trail as "the white trail?" These trails date back to the 1920's and 1930's, and many were created by the stimulous package of the 1930's as CCC projects. They tend to be regional trails that span more than one town. In Shelton and Monroe we have the Paugussett Trail (pronounced Pau-GUSS-ett), which originally ran from the Lake Zoar area to Roosevelt Forest in Stratford before it was cut off by the construction of Aspetuck Village and other projects. The Monroe East Village section of the Paugussett was originally part of the Pomperaug Trail, now limited to Southbury (Kettletown State Park) and Oxford.

So next time you're hiking on a blue trail, consider whether the trail is part our state Blue-Blazed system. If you're at Sleeping Giant, that's the Quinnipiac Trail. If you're hiking the trap rock ridges in central Connecticut, chances are you on the Metacomet or Mattabesett Trails. Excellent maps and descriptions of these trails are located in the Connecticut Walk Book (east and west editions) sold by CFPA through bookstores and their website. The trails are maintained by volunteers with CFPA, and when you purchase the books you are helping to support this great organization to maintain the trails.

One last note: More than half of the trail system is on private property with only a handshake agreement from the property owner. It is therefore critical that trail users stay on the trail and respect private property - no bikes, fires, camping, and no geocaches in private areas.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Trail Companion

Sorry, I can't help it, I've just got to show you my new puppy and future trail partner. Here's Biscuit, a fox terrior bred to hunt down vermin to the death, next to my daughter's psycho guinea pig "Cookie", who I prefer to call "Miss Piggy". Our other guinea pig is much more sane and rightfully too afraid to go near the puppy (she would run away in panic, inviting a brisk chase). But Miss Piggy is far too grumpy and bossy to be intimidated. Instead, she turns to face the puppy and expresses her annoyance with a throaty sound reminisent of Marge Simpson.

Obviously I won't let Biscuit use the guinea pig as a chew toy, so with a measure of frustration she begins copying Miss Piggy by eating whatever Miss Piggy is eating, usually lettuce or grass. Then she eats the piggy's poo. Ewe. I going to make a long-shot attempt and teaching her to help me find letterboxes, in which case she'll be my box terrior ;-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Industrial Turkey

Welcome to Connecticut. Wasn't it just 15 or 20 years ago that wild turkey were a real novelty and everyone was excited to see them? Now look at them, they're all over. Even in this industrial yard in Norwalk. This time of year I see them nearly every morning at Wells Hollow Farm on Bridgeport Avenue.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rec Path Rock Stash

Rock Stashing is yet another treasure hunting game touted as the 'green' alternative to letterboxing and geocaching because no plastic tupperwares or ammo cases are left hidden in the woods. Instead, clues direct you to special rocks that have been placed in favorite locations. The rock may or may not have something painted on the underside. I've planted a Rock Stash - Letterbox hybrid, which means not only do you find an interesting rock, there will be a letterbox containing a hand-carved rubber stamp and logbook nearby. Please sign the logbook, preferably using your trailname and a rubber stamp. Note there is no ink in the letterbox. I recommend bring red and black markers for inking up - crayolas will work fine.

The rock you will be looking for is the one in my previous post about the Stb rock formation near Old Mine Park in Trumbull (see photo above). One side is coated with Pyrite, also called Fool's Gold. It came from the nearby corporate park in the 1990's when they were blasting during construction. You'll know you have the right rock if you look closely and see the word "Trumbull" on one side and a "T" on a white spot on the other.

Clues to the Rock Stash - Letterbox
Shelton Lakes Recreation Path and "Bridge-to-Bridge" route.
White vacant house at corner of Nell's Rock Road and Shelton Avenue, owned by the City.
Closest parking is at the white house, which leaves you 400 feet of walking.

The yellow-blazed path, south
Turning into the woods.
A long rock wall, 400 feet.
It ends.
Another begins.
Four steps along the new.
Resting at the "table."
Before you sit down to admire my rock,
Look under the table
And find my black box

Note: You can log your letterbox find at