I’ve been inspired by A Forest Garden post to join the Walktober challenge at Breezes at Dawn. Every October Robin sets forth the challenge for folks to post a walk they have taken, then she links them all together for a cross-blog stroll. What a fun idea!
Once a poor farm, and then later part of the country retreat of first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William C. Bullitt and his daughter Ann, this eye-pleasing blend of fields and farm buildings, mixed woodlands, and streams forms a crucial link in almost 3,000 acres of protected land.
Less than a mile long, the trail starts at the farm near a beaver pond, crosses a field and enters a sloping woodland forest. For the first half of the trail, we walk past many old-growth sugar maples with girths four to five feet in diameter that tower overhead. Big grandmother trees! I had to take two photos to show the whole tree. My husband provides scale to give you an idea of how big this one is. I love old maples and this wood has many fine ones.
Sadly, a few of these trees have begun to die, some due to rot and old age, others to wind or ice storms. Pieces of broken trunks and rotting limbs can be seen throughout the first quarter mile. Covered with mushrooms, lichen and moss, nothing ever truly dies in the forest. It just changes form and becomes something else.
We passed a hemlock tree stump riddled with holes probably made by pileated woodpeckers that love the soft wood, making gathering insects within an easier job.
Near the top of the trail there is a large glacial erratic boulder that was deposited by the last receding glacier 10-15,ooo years ago. It is referred to as ‘The Pebble.’ In the photo, my husband humorously pretends to be Atlas holding up the earth. That gave me a good idea for a Halloween costume. You could get one of those inflatable globes and somehow attach it to your shoulders. Or perhaps creative types could fashion a globe out of a balloon covered with papier mache and painted to look like the earth. If you try it, send me a photo!
Once past The Pebble, the trail wends its way back down hill. There were golden-leaved beech trees as well as russet oak trees in peak color. Pine and hemlock added a deep green. As we came out of the forest, the hillside across the valley became visible.
Out in the field the vista opens up and you can see for miles across the valley to the hills beyond. I am not great at judging distances, but I would guess you could see at least ten miles. If there are any geographers out there, correct me if I am mistaken!
The Trustees are great trail blazers and thoughtfully put a bench at the top of the field so we could rest and enjoy the view. I took a photo this summer from this same spot and posted it, so you can look back and compare the views. Maybe I’ll snowshoe out here this winter and again in the spring, so you’ll see all four seasons. The change in three months is quite amazing!
Although this photo doesn’t show early autumn’s glorious peak of maple trees and white birch, it does show the rusty red, ochre and mustard of oak, beech and poplar. The clouds were pretty dramatic, carried along on a brisk wind, creating spots of sunlight racing across the hills. It was too cold to tarry long, so we made our way down across a large hayfield, through a few trees to complete the loop back to where we started.
This is becoming one of my favorite walks due to its ease of hiking, not too long and with beauty everywhere I look. What is not to love?