tipping rock

2.24.21 ~ Hewitt Farm, North Stonington, Connecticut

Because of the winter storms we hadn’t had a real walk in the woods in over a month. “Get out there!” my favorite TV weatherman advised on Wednesday morning. We opened the door and the birds were singing and it felt like a spring day at 45°F (7°C). Most of the snow had melted. So we headed out to a new park for us, the Hewitt Farm in North Stonington.

This 104-acre park and recreation area was purchased by the Town of North Stonington in 2008 for the enjoyment of its residents and visitors to the region. The property consists of forests, fields, wetlands and streams; more than a mile of hiking trails, including the town’s Bicentennial Trail; the Shunock River; 3.5-acre Lower Hewitt Pond and dam; and several structures. The dam originally provided water-power to John Dean Gallup’s woolen mill located nearby.
~ Hewitt Farm Trail Map

a preview of the bigger rock to come

We took the Bicentennial Trail. It felt so good to be outside with a just a sweatshirt and no gloves needed! We walked for an hour and a half, up a hill to Tipping Rock, a huge glacier erratic that didn’t disappoint. From the top of the hill we could see the wooded landscape 360° all around us. But there was also lots to see along the way.

moss texture
another glacial erratic with a different energy
interesting root formation

For most of us knowledge comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

perhaps the largest burl we’ve encountered

Not sure how long the trail would be we were thinking of turning back but then we saw the sign. So we pressed on up the hill…

first glimpse (telephoto lens)
what? could that be a ladder?
yes, indeed
no, we do not “do” ladders!
photo by Tim

After much oohing and aahing we headed back down the hill. It was a lot easier and faster than climbing up, but we still paused to see a lot of nature’s delights.

pincushion moss, I think
another interesting root formation

About half way down we heard the delighful sounds of excited children approaching. Two mothers with two babies and four little ones between them were coming up the trail so we took our usual six-feet-off-the-trail position as they passed. We exchanged pleasant greetings. They were wondering about the ladder…

remnants of autumn and winter

We were so happy to be out and about, as much as is possible, during the pandemic. Tim got his first shot on the 17th. Next one scheduled for March 17. My age group opens up on Monday but it may take a while to get an appointment because there are a lot more people in my age group than there are in Tim’s.

30 thoughts on “tipping rock”

  1. I always thought you were blond 🙂
    You are so lucky with all these hike-possibilities, Barbara. I often would like to visit new places to go, but I have no car. And that’s why you blogs and others are so welcome to me – to visit your places too. If I had seen that burl, I would have sawed it off for sure – they are so beautiful when they get shaved and polished!
    And that little ladder made me happy. When people do things right out of their heart and giggles – I once saw three small stones at a trail nearby, painted as little trolls by a child. I found another stone, painted it and placed it beside the child’s. It stood there for years – and then they all disappeared.

    1. Actually I was born blond, like my father and like my grandson, Finn. My hair darkened at adolescence, again like my father’s had. We’re waiting to see if Finn’s hair will darken when he’s older, too. Sometimes in the summer I will get blond highlights if I spend enough time in the sun without my hat.

      I do feel lucky to have a car to get to all these cool nature areas, and someone willing to drive me to them. If I was by myself I would not have a car, either. But you do seem to have a lot of trees around you which I would love. There’s so much traffic in our neighborhood so it’s not a pleasant walk close to home.

      I am amazed how many burls are left alone on their trees since I know how artists like to make lovely bowls out of them. Once in a while I find little painted stones in the woods and it always makes me happy, too. I hope whoever took your stone and the child’s is taking good care of them. 🙂

  2. I love the moss and all the small things nature shows us. Many people overlook the small things in nature. I also – do not do ladders. I suppose the younger generation would like to climb on top of that rock, but not me. Nice post.

    1. Thank you, Peggy! It’s those little things mother nature creates that make walking such a pleasure. Ever since my aunt fell off a ladder and broke her ankle so badly I just had the gut feeling that climbing up a ladder after a certain age wasn’t a risk worth taking!

  3. Your photos are beautiful. You have a good eye for the details. I love the ladder but wouldn’t climb it either. Still for those adventurous souls who like such things, very cool.

    1. Thank you, Ally. I’m always amazed at what little details are waiting for me to notice them. 🙂 I wondered if the mothers we passed were going to let their little ones climb that ladder. I *might* have climbed it when I was their age.

  4. A wonderful walk, Barbara. Lichens, moss, and fungi are a visual treat. Cheers to the dash of warm weather and for getting out – and hooray for Tim getting his first shot on my birthday! 🙂 …. I’m scheduled for shot #2 on Monday – but my wife must wait for shot one in mid-March.

    1. Thank you, Frank. Tim’s getting nervous about the second Moderna shot – he developed some firmness and redness at the injection site about a week after the shot. Apparently it’s harmless. But he was advised to get the second shot in the other arm. I hope I get the single dose Johnson & Johnson shot! Hope your second shot goes well tomorrow!

    1. Thank you, Donna! Tim plans to be on the phone or online at midnight to try and find me an appointment. Can’t wait to see and hug my grandchildren, even though we plan to wear masks to be on the safe side. (North Carolina seems to be way ahead of Connecticut, daughter and son-in-law have their shots and are chafing at the bit to plan a visit!) Good luck getting your shots, too. 🙂

      1. Great news, best of luck! I know how you must miss your grandchildren. Our entire family are all vaccinated with first one, soon to all be done with second end of next week. We are the only two left. Maryland had opened the next phase for under 65 with medical condition (which we both qualify), but when the big snow storm delayed shipments weeks ago, they closed that phase until Maryland catches up. We’re not due home until early April, so I’m staying optimistic they’ll reopen that phase again soon!

        1. These winter storms are wreaking havoc with vaccine shipments and appointment schedules. Still, having appointments is much better than waiting in an endless line. Tim’s first shot came on the day between two storm days so he was lucky he didn’t have to reschedule. Hopefully by early April there will be no more snow or ice storms and you will get your shots in a timely fashion!

  5. That was a fun hike and imagine all the snow you have had and everything looked so green – that moss looked emerald green. I have never seen a burl that size – it was huge. The ladder is odd and adds some character, but too rickety for me to try as I don’t do ladders either. I cling for dear life to the pole light when climbing to the second step to replace the light in the pole light every Fall. It’s nice to see your photo too Barbara because now I know the person behind the conversation, narrative and photos.

    1. I had to smile, those were very isolated little bits of green! Most everything in the landscape was a dull brown. But finding the snippets of green made for a very enjoyable walk. 🙂 Since falls are the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans it makes perfect sense that we avoid ladders and that you hang onto the light pole for dear life! Maybe next time Tim takes a picture I will remember to take my mask off. I honestly forget that it’s there… Tim takes his off whenever he can because he needs more air because of his heart problems.

      1. The tender green shoots or already-greening-up spots this time of year, like the Snowdrops or Crocuses, are such a tease.
        Yes, one fall can leave you in bad shape the rest of your life. That’s why I logged so little walking time during the month of February. I am happy to jump into March and leave February behind. I’ve heard no predictions on whether March comes in lion or a lamb yet. Our masks have become like a second skin sometimes. I’d have no qualms about wearing the mask outside the home forever, but for the fogging up of the glasses which has become quite problematic. I don’t blame Tim for doing that. Hope Tim captures more shots of you and you of Tim!

        1. I haven’t seen my snowdrops or crocuses yet. 🙁 I would welcome a little teasing… It’s raining right now but March will be coming in like a lion this afternoon with 50 mph winds and below zero wind chill temps tomorrow. But after that it should be clear sailing for a while. I think I will be wearing my mask in public even after I get vaccinated as it seems to protect against colds and flu, too. Tim’s gotten pretty good at taking his masks on and off when we encounter people. For me, it’s just easier to leave it in place. Will try to get more pictures!

          1. Our March came in like a lion too – we had high winds (20 mph this morning) and up to 35 … that’s pretty high winds for us. And it going down to the teens again tonight. Mother Nature doesn’t know what she wants to do. I was always careful in Winter with avoiding crowds, shopping in the Fall in bulk and before COVID, I only ran to the store for some perishables once a month. I will keep my mask on too for allergies as well. I never sneezed once for Spring allergies as I masked up. And here in Michigan, we had 4 cases of flu this Winter; last year there were 488 cases! That’s amazing. It’s easier to leave it in place for me too as I don’t like fumbling around my face and the mask. Yes do get more pictures Barbara!

          2. The wind was howling all night and is still on a rampage out there this morning. We had a 55 mph gust overnight. I don’t like it when the windows rattle. Wind chill is 2°F. I’ve got my flashlight handy in case we lose power. Lots of trees down across the state.

            That’s interesting about using a mask for allergies, too. I will have to see if I notice a difference. That’s great, only 4 cases of flu in Michigan. I just checked for Connecticut, we had 13 cases this season. Pretty remarkable.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. Oh my, do you often encounter ladders on your hikes, with no other way around? I don’t think that’s ever happened to me. Maybe at Lost River Gorge in New Hampshire when I was a kid…

        1. Ah, yes, I remember your post about your trepidation while taking your dog over a swinging bridge. Darn maps. We’ve had some puzzling maps for places around here, too.

  6. So delighted you were able to do this (so I could tag along virtually!!). Love those spots of bright new green; tells me Spring really is on its way!

    1. That was definitely the feeling that day, spring must be just around the corner!! 🙂 (Although we do have a cold snap predicted for Tuesday so we will still have to be patient just a bit longer…)

  7. Isn’t it wonderful when the temperature finally warms and you can feel the freedom of warmth and mobility without snow? What a lovely walk you had. And how great that your age group can get the vaccine! That’s not happening yet in Michigan. Although I called and added our names to the list….just in case they got a surplus shipment and needed immediate volunteers. 😁

    1. Wonderful, indeed! But tomorrow the wind chill will be below zero. Just for a day, though.

      Tim got online late last night and incredibly got me a vaccination appointment on Friday! He tried at 11:15 p.m. even though it was supposed to start at midnight, but they opened the site early. 500,000 people in my age group. I feel like I won the lottery. 😊 Maybe I’ll get to see my grandchildren (with masks) in April!!! I hope your turn will come soon, Kathy!

    1. Thank you, Timi! There are so many things to look at in the woods, even when it seems mainly dull and brown and gray in the winter…

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