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.
PETERS MEMORIAL WOODS
I’ll be honest. When I set off on my hike earlier in the week, I was not looking forward to the cold, bitter temperatures I knew would greet me. But, despite my reluctance, I bundled up in layers, leashed my dog Sampson and faced the day.
The spot? Peters Memorial Woods in Clinton.
I found these enchanting woods worked as a wonderful buffer from the biting wind I so desperately wanted to avoid. And, although still cold, I knew my trek was going to more bearable than I first imagined.
Run by the Clinton Land Conservation Trust, Peters Memorial is beautiful plot of land with a web of trails that covers the entire property. None are over a mile in length and each offers a window into the area’s unique ecology.
With a dusting of snow still on the ground, Sampson and I headed straight for the main path – the red Bougie Trail. At a little less than a half-mile long, it is an easy walk for people of all abilities. The trail’s wide path - lined with stone walls – is a former logging road that gradually moves uphill the deeper into the forest it goes.
Small placards identifying tree species pepper the landscape as do well-designated markers offering other easily-accessible trails for exploring.
My curiosity sent me down the Laurel Ridge Trail – a short jaunt that takes you deep into thickets of mountain Laurel that crowd this small path. The up-and-down terrain creates an invigorating hike for those up for the challenge. But, for the scenery alone, I found it well worth the effort.
The last path I tackled was the Brook Trail – a quarter-of-a-mile trek that brought me through an impressive ravine made up of glacial rock deposits. Large boulders jut up through the soil creating a wonderful panoramic view. And the slight gurgling of the small creek that cuts through this property adds a finishing touch.
I can only imagine how this enchanting forest must look like at the peak of spring or fall. But, as I discovered, there’s no need to wait – a visit any time of year is just as rewarding.
Directions: Take CT-9 S to exit 5 for CT-80 toward Deep River/Killingworth. Turn right onto CT-80 W/Elm St. Go a little more than a mile before turning right again on CT-80 W. Turn left onto CT-145 S. Turn right onto Break Neck Hill Rd. Continue onto Pleasant Valley Rd. Turn right onto Carter Hill Rd. Turn left onto Valley Rd. Parking is on the right.
Trail Distance: 1 mile
Trail Difficulty: Easy