Posted By auntie on June 8, 2016
6 miles; Voluntown, CT
I know I have kind of badmouthed the Pachaug Trail. It tends towards rocky and eroded in a lot of places because of motorized vehicle traffic, and that just does not make for a pleasant hiking experience. But I have to say that today’s hike was wonderful. I started off from the beach area at the Green Fall Pond campground, and almost right away I realized this section of the Pachaug was different.
The first part of this hike was quite hilly, with a lot of rock scrambling, and then there was this “lemon squeezer” part. Fun!
I actually did this hike once before, but that was way back at the beginning of my hiking “career,” in April 2012, and I don’t remember really enjoying it much. I think it was pretty wet. I don’t know why I felt so differently about it today. Maybe I was just in the mood for it.
As the name implies, there were TONS of mountain laurels throughout the vast majority of this walk. They’re not quite in peak bloom yet, but they soon will be.
There were also quite a few of these gigantic beetles. Seriously, they were huge, maybe an inch and a half long. Turns out, they’re called Fiery Searchers (Calosoma scrutator), but another common name for them is Caterpillar Hunters. Welp, they should be thriving this year. The gypsy moths have been horrible, though they’ve seemed to have tapered off finally. For a while there, you couldn’t go outside without being bombarded with them.
Even before I got to the trail junction with the Laurel Loop part of the hike, the laurels were spectacular. There were long sections spent walking through green tunnels of laurels with blooms overhead. Amazing.
There were even some pink laurels.
This is the spot where the Laurel Loop begins, and the Pachaug goes right. The Laurel Loop is blazed blue and yellow.
From the Laurel Loop, I picked up the Nehantic Trail back to my car. The Nehantic is another of the CT Forest & Park Association’s blue-blazed trails, like the Pachaug.
I’m not saying it was a perfect hike… there were plenty of the usual summer annoyances, including gnats and spider webs, but it was still fun.
Map of the Green Fall Section of the Pachaug State Forest, including the Laurel Loop, here.