A group of fifteen hikers took to the trails last Thursday morning to enjoy one of the largest Land Trust properties in town, and did so despite a persistent drizzle. This is the second time in the last several months that the Nature Center group, led by Toddy Turrentine, has formerly explored a Land Trust property, the first being the Nancy Watson-Symington Woodlands last fall.
Gathering near Silvermine Road, Land Trust Executive Director Mike Johnson led the group through the bare hardwoods of what will eventually become the Silvermine Fowler Preserve, describing the history of the land and pointing out interesting features in the topography. Despite the dry summer and fall, Still Pond was near full to the brim after a few days of heavy rains. The improvised footbridge that crosses the stream where the pond empties was just about stretched to its limit. An upcoming Eagle Scout project on the site will provide a sturdier crossing for walkers and hikers looking to make the connection from Silvermine Road to the Hicks-Kelley Audubon Sanctuary that hugs Cedar Lane to the south.

Skirting the northern path of the loop trail that was originally cut by Eagle Scout Joe Peiser, the Nature Center group broke off to the west, catching a trail that was cut back in November by the scouts of Troop 70. This new loop takes walkers past the carnage wrought by superstorm Sandy: a pile of toppled white pine laid down with roots pointing back to the east, the direction of the hurricane-force winds that were to blame for the damage.

Once through the thickets of burning bush and rock-hopping through another patch of water, the group gathered at the northern end of the Ira Hicks Cedar Meadow, just to the south of Silvermine Road as it curves back to the west toward the Mounted Troop. The crowd chatted about the value of open space and was interested to learn how they could help in the future.

Thank you to the Nature Center for allowing the Land Trust to host your group and for letting share with the community some of the natural treasures of New Canaan. Access to the Hicks-Kelley Trail can be found at a pull off from Cedar Lane, between Hickory and Braeburn Drives.