Hadn’t hiked to Breakneck Pond in Union, CT, in perhaps 40 years. That last time was on snowshoes, in deep mid-winter snow. Today’s visit came as the leaves on the trees are emerging, one of the most fundamental and welcome expressions of Earth’s renewal. The weather has been wetter than normal, chillier than normal, and this morning was cloudy and cool. But, with our lives radically altered by the coronavirus for two months now, walking in the woods and along a pond was uplifting, peaceful. I hiked alone in a state of equanimity, actually smiling at times. I suspect a yoga practice in my study at dawn today got me in just the right frame of mind.
I hiked from the parking lot in Bigelow Hollow State Park at the north end of Bigelow Pond, following the white-blazed trail to Breakneck Pond, then following the west shore of the pond on the blue/red dot trail.
Marsh marigolds in bloom as I crossed a brook along the way. Love the bold yellow of these flowers.
Saw an osprey as I arrived at Breakneck Pond. A pileated woodpecker drummed in the distance. Breakneck is a pretty pond off by itself in the forest, no buildings on the pond, no motorboats. A rarity in Connecticut, just the pond and the forest. Moreover, while small, at only 91 acres, the pond is 1.5 miles long and natural, unlike so many other ponds in Connecticut created by damming a stream.
Here and there along the trail were crumbling old stone walls. This area and the adjoining Yale Forest were open farmland in the 19th century. Many of the farms were abandoned before the turn of the 20th Century and the land reverted to forest. It remains one of the most wooded parts of the state. But as you walk the trails here, you’ll see many old, crumbling stone walls that once enclosed cropland or pasture.
Because of the virus, which continues to kill thousands of people every day, many more people are venturing into the outdoors for a walk, State parks are busy with people. Nonetheless, I only saw 7 people over two hours of trekking on the trails this morning.
Walked 4.2 miles, covering much of the west side of the pond. Back to my Jeep, I poured a cup of my homemade minestrone as I sat overlooking Bigelow Pond.