Shoreline Greenway Trail- Madison, CT

I’m backlogged in posts, specifically about hikes from my hike book, but I’m going to take a break to share about the Greenway Trail in Madison, CT. This path and separate parking lot are just outside of Hammonasset Beach in Connecticut. There is a Hammonasset “hike” (super easy) in the AMC hiking book, so it makes sense to lump these walks together and do them back to back. For now I’m sharing just the Greenway trail.

As you can tell from the photos, I did this hike back in March (or whenever our last snowfall was). There was only one other person on the trail while I was walking, and I imagine now that spring has sprung, this trail would be packed with walkers + bikers. It has it’s own free parking lot off route 1 (holds maybe 40 cars? so it’s not tiny), just after the entrance to Hammonasset.

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Once you park, you can follow a path that makes you cross the driveway into Hammonasset, but the trail leads away from the entrance and takes you back toward Route 1.. this sounds confusing, but it’s easy to see the trail when you’re there.

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Just to note, that parking lot for the Greenway trail is not overflow parking for Hammonasset. So please don’t park in that lot and then hike your way to the beach as a way to use the beach for free (to avoid paying the entrance/parking beach fee). It takes up valuable parking for those people who are there to use the intended trail. Okay, lecture over.

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Back to the (snowy) trail! This path was basically paved and I would say is handicap friendly with excellent water views.

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The trail goes along the backside of the Hammonasset campground, and you can even see an amphitheater where movies and events would be held in the summer. There is a fence separating the trail from the campground, but the view in made me think I should plan a camping trip there this summer. It was nicer than I had imagined for such a busy park.

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As I keep going on the trail, I was able to see beautiful homes in the distance and big birds flying around. I’m sure this is a great birding spot.

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So pretty, and flat!

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Toward the end the trail follows closely with route 1, but there is a fence divider.

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This is the end of the trail. My only complaint about this trail is that it isn’t very long. If you stopped here afterwork and wanted to do an hours worth of exercise, I would suggested doing 2 loops back and forth… maybe even 3.

I was naughty, and don’t recommend it, but I continued on my walk into the private neighborhood beyond the trail. I’m sure the neighbors hate it, but I really needed more exercise.

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I didn’t take any photos of the street to respect the neighbors privacy, but at the end of each street there was a pretty beach view. That strip of land on the left side of the photo above (way in the distance) is Hammonasset beach sticking out into the water.

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Down another street lead to a “DEP Property”. After this, I made my step count for the day and looped back to the parking lot.

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On the walk back, I noticed that a rock had these painted “bug” rocks attached to it. It was a nice little artistic boost to my walk. Now go, do this loop, and see if you can find the painted rock-bugs!

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Cape Cod Hike: Coy’s Brook Woodlands

I’m getting a little backlogged in hikes to share with you, so I hope to post a couple this week. When I was in Cape Cod two weeks ago, it was blustery cold and SUPER windy. We did the Bells Neck Hike  on Saturday, and then ventured out on Sunday to two different hikes. The first was Coy’s Brook Woodlands. It was a woodsy walk, less than a mile, with water/marsh views for half of it.

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Click on the map above and it will take you to the Harwich Conservation Trust (who made the map) and you’ll see official details from the hike. Below are photos of this trek on a cold early March 2017 weekend.

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The trail begins off a small parking lot on Lathrop Ave in Harwich Cape Cod, MA. There’s not a ton of parking, but on this freezing day it was only us and a woman walking her 3 dogs.

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The trail very quickly loops down toward the marsh, so interesting views are seen for over 50% of this trail. The tress also helped cut down on the cold wind. This was a very easy trail. You can see from the path image above, it was relatively flat, wide, and not very long. We did this on the same day that we did another short hike, just to make it feel like more exercise.

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Marsh views.

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You can see above, the trail has some bumps but it’s not very hilly and at under a mile, it didn’t take long at all.

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For birders needing to sit and wait for their winged friends, there is a bench along the water. The loop back to the car was woodsy, but before you know it you’re passing a water tower and the back of a private home, and it spits you out in the parking lot. Beware dog (hopefully) poop! I managed to get it on my hiking boots and it was a mess to get off my shoe. Classic Bethany.

March 3, 2017: Trolley Trail Branford, CT

How do you like the new logo? Thought it was about time I jazzed it up a bit, as it hasn’t been touched in 2 years.

One thing that I miss  about my LA life is doing fun activities and blogging about them, which I stopped doing due to lack of time now that I’m on the east coast. I also noticed that I have a hard time finding important details about hikes on the east coast. I’m channeling my inner MODERN HIKER and sharing a post about a fun outdoor walk in Branford, CT called the Trolley Trail.

The Trolley Trail is a very easy, flat outdoor trail along the water in Branford, CT… specifically the Thimble Island area. The views are excellent and this one-way-out, one-way-back trail is pretty short so you can add on laps in the neighborhoods on either side of the walk (obeying privacy signs) to make it a full workout. Super easy, super pretty, so bring a camera and a picnic lunch 🙂

The Map:

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There are two areas to park (“P”). One lot is by W Point Rd & Thimble Island Rd (by a baseball field) and the other is at the end of Tilcon Rd. The walk stretches between these two lots. In my images I start by the baseball field, walk out to Tilcon Rd, and back (adding on an extra walking loop down Thimble Island Rd for more exercise). I imagine on a really nice summer day, parking would be harder to come by, but I was surprised at how generous both lots were.

Check out the RULES:

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The walk begins by taking you over a bridge (fun photo op!)

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There are excellent views throughout the walk, so be sure to look up while you stroll. See the Thimble Islands off in the distance? Bring binoculars for birding/gawking at gorgeous homes.

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A chunk of this path is even PAVED (and there are benches to rest!). I should note that there are some additional trails that go off into the woods from this trail. We didn’t explore this, but families with children were heading off to snack on the rocks overlooking the trail.

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This was a surprisingly sunny (but chilly) Sunday in February at low tide, so it wasn’t the most colorful time for plants and trees (dullsville) but there’s still something beautiful about dried muted plants.

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At one point we went under a bridge and there was a well dressed graffiti artist working his magic. I’m not sure what he was adding to these walls, but it had to be Banksy. I’m sure of it 😉

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After looping back, this is the view heading back over the bridge to the parking lot.

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On our way back to the car (just beyond the bridge) is a little trail with a tree swing and a spot to get closer to the water.

TRAIL EXTENSION:

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So to make this a longer walk (although I guess you could just do laps back and forth along the Trolley Trail if you wanted) I suggest leaving your parked car in the lot and walking into town along Thimble Island Rd. This above is a view from a little sandy beach front. If it’s warm, put your feet in!

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Above is the view from the dock where you can take a ferry boat around the Islands (in the summer). I will 100% be doing this in the summer, and I’ll share the deets with you when I do. I suggest walking down the little side streets, stop at the deli by the water for lunch (or pack a picnic and eat it on the beach) and enjoy the pretty views and gorgeous houses.

 

Mount Whitney Hike Part 1

Finally, my Mount Whitney post is here! It was so hard narrowing it down to these images, and even harder to take them down to low-res so they can fit on this site. So painful, but alas, I want to share them with you and that is the only way.

First let me start with the itinerary breakdown and altitudes:

Sunday: Arrive in Lone Pine (3,000 ft) by late afternoon, check in at the visitors center (get permits/wag-bag), then drive up to Horseshoe Meadows Campground (10,000ft) to set up camp and spend the night. (This was highly recommended to us, to help us adjust to the altitude and prevent altitude sickness. I really think it helped.)

Monday: Up at 5am, pack-up and drive down the mountain, then back up a different mountain to the Whitney Portal (8,000 ft). Have a breakfast at the cafe there, then start the 6 mile trek with our group (and all our gear on our backs). Arrive at Trail Camp (12,000 ft) at 4:45p, set-up camp, dinner, bed.

Tuesday: Up at 2am, hit the trail by 3:15am with our day packs. Hike up the 99 switchbacks, then climb across the mountains to reach the Summit of Mount Whitney at 7:30am (14,500 ft). Climb back down to base camp (5mi), pack up gear and then continue 6 miles down the mountain. Arrive at the Whitney Portal at 6:10pm. Drive back to LA! Get into Los Angeles at 11:30p. Done!

Now that you know all that we did (22 miles!) in 2 days… insanity, right? Why do it? What’s there to see? Well, these photos can answer all of these questions. We got to see untouched nature that only other hikers going through our experience get to see. There’s no road to Whitney, no shuttle, nothing. It’s hike in- hike out. Also, pushing your body to it’s physical limits is exhilarating. When your body is saying “stop, I want to sit!” and your mind is saying “Keep going, you can do this! You’re strong!” it’s an amazing feeling. Did you know Mt. Whitney is the highest hike-able mountain in the continental US?

Mount Whitney Part 1 is from Sunday night in Lone Pine to Trail Camp on Monday evening. For more information and expert info on Whitney, check out Modern Hiker.

(Left) This is a board of temperatures and altitudes you can see in the beautifully designed Visitors Center. Stop in here as soon as you get into Lone Pine. Be sure to read up on how to use a wag-bag (yes, you have to carry out EVERYTHING). At the visitors center at 5pm, my car registered the temperature at 93 degrees. Then we made the drive up to Horse Meadow Campground (Right), stepped out of the car at 5:45p and it was 50 degrees. Step one: put on pants.

Our first camp was in a valley at a 10,000ft elevation. There were maybe 20 other people spread out over a giant meadow. While setting up our tent, there’s no doubt in my mind that we heard bears roaring far away in the valley. We were in prime bear territory and had to be careful to lock-up all our food (and any scented items) in the bear lockers. Bears will break a car door if they smell food in there. I was extra careful. We had a rough night of sleep, given all the animal sounds we could hear echoing in the valley. Not ideal, knowing we had a huge hiking adventure in store the following day.

Our alarm went off at 5am, and it took us over an hour to pack up our tents in the dark (and freezing cold). We then drove down the mountain and then back up a different mountain to the Whitney Portal, and arrived at 7:15a.

(Left) Here is my gear (minus the bear canister). It first weighed in around 27lbs, but then after swapping items around my guess is the final weight of my pack was closer to 35lbs. This was a lot, but lower compared to a lot of people in my group. (Right) We shared a standard pancake from the cafe (yup, 3 plates to carry it!) and then it was time to hit the trail!

The terrain for the first 2 miles are woodsy switchbacks with the occasional water way to pass over. The higher you get, the less woodsy it becomes.

After the woodsy switchbacks, you’ll reach a sign advertising Lone Pine Lake .1 miles off the path. It’s worth the .1 of extra hiking. Lone Pine Lake is picture-perfect and a great place to refill water. The water is crystal clear and creates a mirror effect and it was my favorite lake of them all.

After a short rest, we continued on because we’ve got many miles to go! The above images illustrate how a terrain of steep rocks can lead you to a flat green valley which is a temporary relief from the incline. The landscape was constantly changing and you never knew what would be around the corner.

The image on the left is Mirror Lake (not as mirrored as Lone Pine Lake, am I right?) where we stopped to rest and refill water. The image on the right shows you Mirror Lake after we hiked for 20 minutes. Parts of the trail were so steep that even in 20 minutes, the last place you rested would then become a dot to you.

I had to share the heart knot in the tree. How sweet. (Right) We got to pass mules early in the trek, who were bringing supplies to workers doing maintenance high-up on the trail, and here they are returning down the mountain. They move SO fast with SO much weight on their backs… I have sympathy for them.

But on we must go! Higher! Steeper! Where is the campsite?? Is it around this corner? No. Is it around this corner? No. This one? YES! Finally we made it to our campsite.

This is Trail Camp, over 12,000ft. We set-up camp, filtered water at the local lake and then added some layers because if we learned anything from the night before, as soon as the sun starts setting the temperature drops. This is where I am ending part 1, given that this was the relief portion of our hike. It was only temporary though, as we realized the ants on the mountain in front of us were actually people climbing the near-invisible trail we were going to climb in another 6 hours. We were all anxious.

Saturday Morning Hike, Seafood + Beer

After a late night at the Dresden (catch up HERE), I rushed home, blogged (of course), and hit the hay for my early morning hike. I picked up my friends Lindsey and Stephanie and we met up with Amber in the Valley for our Malibu adventure.

Amber is awesome at being spontaneous and making adventures, so when plans were made she said “Wanna hike on Saturday?” and I said “when and where”. As Amber drove the 4 of us to our Malibu hike, it was getting cloudy and she said we were making a pit stop, and lucky for me she brought her “L.A. Bizarro” book. We got off the 101 in Agora Hills and drove slowly by “Trout Dale” (page 327 for book owners). It’s around this time that I realized that I brought my camera but not the battery that allows the camera to be anything other than a hunk of plastic and metal. So all photos in the update are cell phone pics, or images I found online.

This photo (taken from their website) makes it look so much bigger than it is. To explain, Trout Dale is a place where families come to fish… and by place, I mean man-made kiddy pool stocked with fish fillets.

We drove on past Trout Dale (it hadn’t opened yet), and continued on to Peter Strauss Ranch. This was just a short detour, but it was a cool park/trailhead/retired-pool.

Here is a map of the trails. We did not hike here, but we did see the “historic pool”, the Ranch House, the Terrazzo Dance Floor, and Aviary.

This ranch was pretty cool. They had a huge amphitheater that is now covered in grass that makes it look even cooler than it did back in the day. If you are going to check out Trout Dale you HAVE to drive the extra 1 minute down the road to scope out the Peter Strauss Ranch. Do a hike there, or just do a 5 minute walk around the property. Across the street from this ranch is the Old Place (western looking saloon also in the LA Bizarro book) and the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room. You could do some damage here, as a hike, saloon and winery are all within 50 feet from each other.

Looking at a map now, I can see we were SO close to the Paramount Ranch (where Westerns are born). I’ll be back there, as I need to see that place:

We jumped back in the car and headed to our destination: Corral Canyon Park. This trail begins in the parking lot of Malibu Seafood. Street parking along the PCH is easy enough, that you don’t need to pay the parking fee. Also, if youre smart like us, time it so that when the hike ends it’s meal time and you’re at Malibu Seafood!

The hike had great views of the ocean, as you’re across the street from the ocean. It was beautiful out, and I hope you all got out there and hiked.

The hike was maybe a 3 mile loop. It wasn’t challenging, but it was a great way to spend the morning with good friends getting some exercise.

We finished and celebrated with an 11am seafood lunch. Yummy.

This was our view from one of their outdoor booths. You know a seafood place is good when the doors open at 11am and there is already a line. We were there first but not long after all the booths were taken.

We decided to cap off our expedition with a stop at Lady Face Alehouse on the way home. They had cheap tasters, so we each tried a couple and shared to maximize the tasting. They brew the beer there as there are vats in the dining area. The food menu looked yummy, but we were still full off seafood. They also had a drum set in the corner of the dining area, which I imagine is for live music. It was a cool place. It started to get cold and cloudy so we sat indoors instead of their giant outdoor patio. This place looked pretty fun. Maybe Ill stop in again when I’m back in the Agora Hills area.