When I first moved to the Litchfield Hills back in 2009, I knew I would be doing a great deal of exploring in my new found turf so to speak. In the Litchfield Hills, we all know that the word exploring is an understatement. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of places right here in our own backyards where we can get lost in a different world as we escape the everyday. Through the seasons, these places of wonder seem to change so dramatically, that they become different every time we visit them, and each time is far different than the last.
As the gas prices have exceeded my budget, I’ve done a lot less traveling and have spent more time around my own neck of the woods, and surprisingly, there is a great deal of adventure to discover. This morning, I took my mother out for a round of morning hikes through various destinations throughout Litchfield County. Hiking in the spring is nothing like hiking in the summer. The temperatures today have proved that theory as the two of us could have sworn it was a late autumn day with a chill in the air and even a flake or two. The weather this morning wasn’t exactly perfect, but then again, when is spring ever perfect? Getting out of the house was a blessing in itself!
We started our hiking adventure at Steep Rock Preserve down in Washington. This is a place that will leave you breathless as you hike along side the beautiful Shepaug River. On a spring day, there’s nothing else like it as you’re walking through a pine forest with the sounds of a gentle flowing river passing you by. It’s a magic of sorts that many of us nature lovers live for. Steep Rock offers a world that is unspoiled and away from the busy modern world. There’s a vast network of nearly 30 miles worth of trails which offer different views as well as different terrain levels. Though we didn’t hike all of the trails, we did manage to hike the trail closest to the river which was considered the Yellow Blazed trail system. Through the trail, we saw a variety of different sights including this wonderful walk bridge that crosses over the river and branches out into other trails. What may look like just a normal bridge at first will leave you breathless as you take in the views from both sides of the bridge. It’s really quite the experience to be literally out in the middle of nowhere while enjoying pure silence. If you never have, I urge you to take the hike, you’ll be glad that you did. Places like this can also offer your mind a quick escape from the lives that we live today.
As we hiked back to the parking lot, taking in the sights from the southern side of the river, I couldn’t help but want to do more of this. As the economy continues to add a burden to many of our wallets, it’s the adventures like this that don’t cost us a thing to do that could save us a heaping amount of money while providing hours of enjoyment. Honestly, why spend a great deal of money fueling up the car and heading for states such as Vermont or New Hampshire when we can experience the same enjoyment right here in Litchfield County? We have got it made if you ask me.
Our next round of adventures took place in Torrington at a place called Sunny Brook State Park. Have you ever been there? I never have, and quite honestly I enjoyed everything that I discovered here. It’s part of a larger network of trails and state forest system which is known as the Paugnut State Forest. Within the park, you can take part in a variety of activities such as cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and hunting. At Sunny Brook, you can also hop on the John Muir Trail which connects the park with nearby Burr Pond State Park via the forest. Having something like this in Torrington is surreal. It’s hard to imagine that we have such a fine opportunity to hike some of the best trail systems in the east right here in town.
There’s a lot of folks out there that take all of these great world of wonders we have for granted. As gas prices continue to climb, and more folks seek to stay around home more often, it is places such as these that we will come to cherish as we spend family time in the great outdoors here in beautiful Litchfield County, Connecticut.