Friday, May 27, 2016

A Salem Secret

If you add a few line breaks, the directions read like a poem:

close to the town line,  
just before the yellow sign, 
there is a parking area on the right. 
look for a solitary telephone pole. 
trailhead is close
to the metal barrier.

I have driven past this trailhead - actually an almost imperceptible gap between the trees by the side of the road - too many times to count.

I have never come close to imagining that anyone might voluntarily park their car there, beside Route 85, and set off on foot in search of a brook and a trail and some secret woods.

To be honest, these woods are not really secret. This preserve is listed right there with the other properties on the website of the Salem Land Trust.

But then again, I have driven past most of those properties countless times too, completely unaware that anyone had blazed trails through them.

"Big Brook Gorge" sounds dramatic, but the walk I took on the red trail, described as:

mild gradual hill,
scenic along Big Brook

was nothing more than a short stroll among the trees.

But as I write that, it seems an unfair and incorrect way to talk about this place.

It's true that there's nothing spectacular or particularly unique about this preserve, but what it has - and what so many other land trust properties in so many other towns across the state have - is something essentially Connecticut: stone walls, tall trees, green leaves, ancient boulders, birds singing, water flowing, and a blue sky if it's a good day.

As trails go, this one is entirely average. Lots of people would probably call it boring. But sometimes, especially when it seems everyone is only talking about what's wrong with Connecticut, it's nice to remember that if you live in a place where this kind of setting is considered average and boring, you live in a pretty freaking nice place.

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