Sometimes, when I pick a place to explore, I focus on its highlights and the grand finish. And my trip to Woodbury’s Whittemore Sanctuary seemed to offer some promise for both.
But, this hike was a little bit different than most after a chance meeting with a fellow hiker named Doreen at the trailhead. Her knowledge of the trail and enthusiasm for a vigorous hike prompted us to team up for this morning trek.
Our goal setting out was to reach a wooded bird blind that offers a scenic and quiet spot to view the bog’s wildlife. To get there we chose to go the ‘long way around’, opting to travel on the white trail.
The trail – the longest of eight – parallels the eastern border of the sanctuary. At 686 acres, the preserve – managed by the Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust – covers a mix of wooded terrain, several brooks, a bog, and a small pond.
Heading north, the trail also parallels Lake Quassapaug, which we could see through the tree line as we wandered past. But for the majority of our hike on the white, we were deep in the woods.
Well-marked trees made the path easy to follow, but the constant ups and downs of the terrain made for some rough spots. But, good company and conversation made it easy enough to bear as the trail took us into the heart of the sanctuary.
Prompted by our search of the blind, we detoured off the white trail and onto the yellow. The path takes hikers past an impressive bog, which masked in a morning fog, resembled that of a creepy moor from the pages of a Sherlock Holmes novel.
Here, the bird blind sits. Inside, a couple of chairs allows visitors a chance to quietly observe the bog and consider their surroundings. We took the opportunity to do just that and it was a worthwhile reprieve after a long hike through the woods.
Our destination achieved, we shifted gears once again and made our way back to the lot via the blue trail. Along the way, our conversations about outdoor adventures and life, in general, carried on. And I ended the day in a way I didn’t expect - giving credence to the saying, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Directions: Take I-84 West to exit 17 for CT-64. Continue on CT-64 W/Chase Pkwy. Turn right to stay on CT-64 W. Sanctuary parking is on the right.
Trail Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Trail Distance: 4 miles
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