Saturday, May 22, 2010

South By SouthWick

We tried finding it a couple of years ago. A trail legend said it would carry us far over the state line, and deliver us into the mystical, mythical, waiting ribbon of asphalt layed through one of the greenest, lushest valleys of far off Connecticut; a path known by some as the Farmington Valley Trail system. We followed clues, took directions from locals, and pored over maps. But we just couldn't find it.

We couldn't find it because at the time, it didn't exist.

Not so today, we have since learned. They've been hard at work, and the connection is almost a reality.

But rather than ride along the uncompleted dirt path, as we saw many doing, you can meet up with the Farmington trail system at a Southwick package store called the Oak and Keg. Across the street there is a parking lot, and just below, a fresh section of connector trail.

It's still a couple miles to the border from here, and the going is lush and easy.

It's all a freshly paved, nicely built biking way.

Much of the Farmington trail runs alongside the short lived, early 19th century canal that stretched from Northampton to New Haven. Completed in three short years, they got about the same amount of time usuing it before the railroad age really kicked in, pretty much putting the new but slower canal system out of business. In many spots, evidence of the old canal is still visible.

I had no idea the Farmington valley was so lush, green and farmy. On both sides were tobacco fields...


...and lush forest.

All of it hardly interupted by the blaring aesthetic burdens of modern man. A couple small neighborhoods or the oddball house in the distance here or there, but seemingly not a highway or subdivision in sight. Anywhere.

Quiet, green and clean seems to be the mantra of this trail system. Or at least the section of it we did.

The trail system goes on from the border for a good 27 miles, through the valley into Simsbury. Thereabout it branches off into other sub-trails and connectors for many miles more.

And all along the stretch are off shoots of dirt trails and walking paths, veering off on tangents into woods or over hills. Really beautiful stuff.

We only had time to check out about 7 miles of it before having to turn back. We made it to the Newgate wildlife preserve, which the trail cuts through in dramatic woodsy fashion.

Near there we took a little break before the turnaround, and rolled around a little in a field by a rest area, checking out robins and buttercups, with my buttercups.

Kelly had to work later that afternoon: the bane of my Sunday afternoons now that spring has arrived. But turn around we must. But we'll be back. The plan is to return to this trail in three or so visits; each time driving to where we left off biking the previous time, until we cover the whole 27 miles.

For now it's 7 down, 20 to go.

But who's counting.


Radar Check said...

that's one cute kid. Looks like a good bike trail.

Nichole Parlapiano said...

Why not spend a weekend biking the entire trail. We did it last year from Farmington, CT. It took us roughly 4 hours.

Anonymous said...

Tony, you are Truely Blessed & so is your Family to have you. What an interesting life you live. You enjoy every weekend to the fullest. Thanks so much for sharing. Stay safe. L.