Tri-Town Forest East

Posted By on August 21, 2018

Tri-Town Forest East

4.2 miles; Preston, Griswold and North Stonington, CT

[Ed. Note: I have been EXTREMELY remiss in posting for the past few months. A lot of personal drama. But I have made a vow to post at least once a day until I’m caught up. So watch the dates on these, as there is quite a backlog.]

Today’s hike was a special treat! I was contacted through this very blog by a member of Avalonia Land Conservancy with an offer of a tour of their newly-acquired Tri-Town Forest Preserve. I asked if I could invite friends, and when he said I could, I posted the hike on the PCHC, along with notifying some people who aren’t on FB (I KNOW, right?). We had a wonderful hike with a very knowledgeable guide.

Corn Drills

Mortars or Grinding Holes

I know I posted about this the last time I hiked this property (before Avalonia had actually acquired it), but it’s such a remarkable sight I needed to post it again. This is likely a site where Native Americans ground various nuts and grains into flour. It’s on the side of what looks like a box canyon; a perfect spot for a winter camp.

Many Stone Walls

Many Stone Walls

This property is criss-crossed with lots of stone walls, many of which are thought to be “Serpent Walls.” This is a really excellent article from the New London Day on the theories surrounding these stone constructions, featuring none other than today’s hike leader, among others: The enduring elegance and mystery of stone walls: Who built them and why at the heart of an ongoing debate.

While traipsing with me on trails in North Stonington, Preston and Griswold, Starr and Tjerandsen pointed out several examples of what they identified as native constructions. Among them were stone chambers that resemble semi-subterranean, stone igloos, and “serpent walls” that appear to undulate among the trees, point to water sources or cracks in the earth, and feature distinctive snake-like heads.

[And I leave it to you, dear readers, to ponder the mystery of a blog post ostensibly written on August 21st that highlights an article from the local paper dated October 17th.]

Dead Man's Fingers

Dead Man’s Fingers

We’ve had a lot of rain recently, and today’s woods were bursting with lots of different kinds of fungus, notably these “Dead Man’s Fingers,” Xylaria polymorpha.

Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor

We also found a fantastic flush of Cinnabar Chanterelles, but got chased away by some ground nesting wasps or bees.

There isn’t much on Avalonia’s website about this property, but I got some maps from our guide, and I have linked to them here (2-page pdf file). (As you can see by comparing the maps to my track, we only hit the eastern side of the preserve. Western side will be another hike. Stay tuned.) The trail head is at 91 Miller Road in North Stonington, CT. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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