Since childhood, my love of the outdoors has always been a part of me. And as an adult, I hope to share that passion with my own children.
So, I offered this challenge to my family, to join me in exploring the hidden treasures and more popular gems Connecticut and the surrounding region have to offer. From hiking to biking to kayaking, I hope my window into the outside world inspires you to explore as well.
Crescent Lake Loop
Here it is – 2015 - and with it thoughts of how the new year will unfold. For me, it's a great opportunity to seek out new adventures and to gain a fresh perspective on the world.
With that in mind, I set out to put those thoughts into action. So, I headed to Giuffrida Park in Meriden with Sampson, my beloved bloodhound-lab mix.
Named after a well-known surgeon, the nearly 600-acre park was acquired by the city in 1965 and is nestled in its northeast corner. It holds a mighty trove of treasures to be sure. From the soaring tops of Chauncey Peak and Mt. Lamentation, to the quaint shores of Crescent Lake, there are many niches to discover and I was itching to get started.
In the mood for a leisurely hike, I decided upon the Crescent Lake Loop trail. The lake, also known as the Bradley-Hubbard Reservoir, was once part of the city's water supply during dry spells. Now it's a tranquil foothold to a landscape that has largely remained untouched.
Beginning at the picnic area straight off the parking lot, I headed down the white-blazed trail. The path is wide and well-marked. Pine needles carpet the relatively flat ground, with tree roots that bubble up haphazardly along the way. It's just the warm-up I needed after a flurry of holiday meals in recent weeks.
As we made our way along the western edge of the lake, there were plenty of opportunities to connect with an alternate unmarked trail. But, the calming nature of the water and the sense of quiet on the white trail, kept us locked into the path we were on.
With that in mind, we continued our journey, hugging the shore and descending down the trail, bearing right to the northern tip of the reservoir. Here, we crossed a footbridge and headed back via the eastern side of the lake.
From this point on, the landscape changes quite a bit. The wide swatch of flat ground in the first segment of the hike gives ways to a far rockier surface. Sampson and I had to navigate an obstacle course of sorts, climbing over fallen tree trunks and securing a solid path when possible. And that made it all the more interesting.
The hike, although not difficult, was time consuming. But, I quickly found my dog's instincts were far more intuitive than mine when picking the path of least resistance. It served us well as we made our way to the end.
Here, the path clears out and the woods gave way to greener terrain; the scene punctuated by the sound of spilling water over the nearby dam. It offers the finishing touch to this picturesque scene and yet, another reminder of the rejuvenating effects a new year and new adventure can have.
Directions: The park is located on Westfield Road near Hunter Golf Course. Entrances are on Westfield Road, which is accessible from Bee St. or Country Club Road (Exit 20 on I-91). Parking is located inside the park and at a commuter lot on Country Club Road.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Distance: 2.0 miles