with the graces of the winter scenery

view of Palmer Cove from Haley Farm State Park

Groton is also home to Haley Farm State Park. Last year in February Beverly and I took a long walk here, too. This winter I have not been as interested in getting outdoors, but it’s nice to remember when I had a bit more energy, and blog about last year. Above is a lovely view of Palmer Cove from Haley Farm.

backside of Canopy Rock

The backside of Canopy Rock, above. It seems to be a place for kids to hang out and leave artwork. We didn’t see any litter, which was thoughtful of them.

side view of Canopy Rock

In the above side view picture the “canopy” part of the rock is clear. In the distance is the Amtrak railroad elevation. In the picture below is a tunnel under the railroad tracks, originally used for livestock – it must have been small livestock – clearance is only 4 feet! Can’t imagine a cow crawling under there!

livestock tunnel under the railroad tracks

If one doesn’t mind crawling through, our map tells us that on the other end of this tunnel are paths connecting to the trails in Bluff Point State Park. We didn’t attempt it, curious or not, we’re not engineers but we wouldn’t want to be under there if a train should zoom by overhead. A little close for comfort, too. At least we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, still… If we turned around now, we could see Race Track Pond, or actually the reeds surrounding it.

Race Track Pond, obscured by reeds

We decided to follow a deer trail, figuring they would know the easiest way through the reeds to find the pond for a drink of water.

reeds surrounding Race Track Pond

We did find a spot where the ice had been broken through and guessed that might be where the deer would find their water.

I please myself with the graces of the winter scenery, and believe that we are as much touched by it as by the genial influences of summer.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

snow covered ice on Race Track Pond

It was beautiful with the long winter shadows of the reeds on the snow-covered ice. We didn’t know it then, but we were to be inexplicably unable to retrace our steps. Lost!

When a man named Caleb Haley owned the farm he built a lot of stone walls around his pastures, using an ox drawn stone-puller. I meant to photograph some of them on our way out, but, we were very cold and had very likely been walking around in circles trying to figure out a badly drawn map. When we finally saw the entrance (exit!) I quickened my step and fell on an icy spot of snow. Wrenched my shoulder so badly it still hurts a little even now, a year later.

So perhaps this year, maybe in the spring, I’ll return and try to get some stone wall pictures!

16 thoughts on “with the graces of the winter scenery”

  1. Thank you for sharing your photographic word journey with us. Yes winter is a bit difficult to navigate, paths and icy streams…
    A spring or fall journey may be a more fruitful adventure!

      1. Barbara,

        Thank you for noticing and commenting about my blog, or not blogging! There is one in the draft stag and hopefully I will get to it today?
        I have just been a bit “blocked” the ice is melting, the sun is shinning!

  2. Lovely photos Barbara. But… brrr! It’s got a wee bit warmer here, I’m pleased to say.

    Not sure I’d call that ‘artwork’ on the rock, more like graffitti. Seems a shame, really.

    I don’t know if this holds true there as it does here in the UK, but I’ve noticed that in urban areas where there is a painted mural, kids rarely do graffitti.

    1. Glad you’re warming up over there, Val!

      Well, in my opinion, graffiti is art, even if it is illegal or if we don’t appreciate the message. But then again, I grew up in a university town where artwork was often left on rocks. I’d rather see graffiti than litter! It’s hard to know where to draw the line…

  3. I would not have crawled through the tunnel, either. I’m not that daring (even with the light visible, claustrophobia would have won out).

    Your pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your walk with us. I enjoyed it. I really like Canopy Rock with its artwork/graffiti, and the shadows of the reeds on the pond.

    1. I’m with you on the claustrophobia, Robin. I even have trouble with tunnels that look safe! I’m glad you liked the pictures. 🙂 Instead of getting out there in the mountains of snow we got this year, I’ve been content to post pictures from other winters when I actually did go outside! Got a walking stick for Christmas I haven’t used yet…

  4. Sorry about your shoulder. Smashing pictures though and a great walk! I really enjoy this sort of post, it’s great to read and see pictures from other people’s world. I even like your snow- now there’s a thing! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Keith, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. I must say, though, last year’s snowfall was nothing compared to this year’s amounts! I’m kicking myself for not getting out of the house for walks and pictures of this winter. Too easily daunted, I guess…

  5. Barbara,

    I found your blog by way of Val, which is funny because she’s across the pond and I am in central Connecticut!

    I love hiking around Haley Farm, though have never been in the winter. My family and I once hiked from there all the way to the bluff. My children will never forgive me! But it was an adventure, and so scenic. We took the bridge over the tracks. I’d be scared to take the mini-livestock path!

    Your blog is great and has given me a new appreciation for poetry.


    1. It’s such a small world, AA! I think you may be the first WordPress blogger from Connecticut who I have had the pleasure of “meeting!”

      I haven’t found the bridge over the tracks yet. There are so many paths there and the maps I’ve had so far are terribly confusing. Not sure why I keep winding up there in the winter. One winter a friend and I took our young daughters on a long walk and my daughter somehow stepped in a frozen puddle and got ice cold water in her boot. My friend and I wound up carrying her all the very long way back to the car!

      Thanks for liking my blog! I’ll be visiting yours shortly! 🙂

  6. I think you, too, are the first CT blogger that I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting! Making connections via blogs with people with common interests is one of the things I enjoy so much about blogging.

    You probably have this map, or a similar one. My favorite place is a bench on Mumford Cove. It’s beautiful and serene (though I don’t believe I’ve ever been enjoying the tranquility when Amtrak has gone roaring by). On the far right, just below “Haley Farm State Park,” is a black solid line that crosses the track. That’s the bridge. The trail (grey broken line) along the track is yucky. But the green star near “(0.12)” is the location.


    The next link shows how to connect from Haley Farm.


    And, yikes! I don’t know who to feel more sorry for – your daughter and her frozen foot or you having to carry her! One of my sons tried to swing from a branch or a vine on our return from our 7 mile hike. It broke, and he landed flat on his back. He was fine, thankfully, but grumbled all the way back – mostly because my husband, my other son (younger), and I were cracking up.

    Thanks for visiting Big Happy Nothing. I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

    1. Thank you, AA! I finally got around to printing out the maps this morning! (They will go in my hiking backpack to have on hand.) I’m embarrassed to say that the map of Haley Farm looks like the one picked up at the entrance the day I got lost with my sister. I consider myself an excellent navigator, but I think there are more trails in the park than are shown on the map. Too bad they don’t name the trails and put up little street signs at the intersections!

      I’m glad your son was all right after his fall! Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what hurts more, the pride or the physical pain! 🙂

      I’ve never gotten to Mumford Cove from either park! Next time I go to Bluff Point I will take the trail in the direction of your bench and see if I can find it. Have you been to Sunset Rock? We’re always making a beeline for the point, but there are so many other things in the park we haven’t explored yet.

      Have you been to the Niantic Bay Boardwalk? It runs between the railroad tracks and the shoreline – quite a thrilling place to be when a train roars by!

A box for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.