Orchard Hill Overlook & Black Spruce Pond

Location: James L. Goodwin State Forest, Chaplin & Hampton, CT

Links: Trail Map, CT DEEP

Date: December 7th, 2017

Time: 11 am – 1:30 pm

Hike Duration: 2.5 hours; approximately 3.5 miles

Weather: Sunny, blue sky, 40-45 degrees

Panoramic of Orchard Hill Overlook

This is where the idea for this blog was birthed. Dennis and I sat on the bench at the Orchard Hill Overlook, eating our ham sandwiches and chips…our lunch with a view. (Just an interesting side note, the dorm I lived in for my first two years at UMass-Amherst was on Orchard Hill.)

We started out by parking at the end of 11th Section Rd. and taking the Blue & White Trail to the Orange Trail. Then we headed up the Blue Trail, past the Old Farm House Cellar Holes. Of course, we couldn’t just pass them by. We took a walk around inside and imagined the history of the time period they were built in and the day to day activities of the people who lived there. Who were they? What were they doing? What did the area look like back then?

Bench at Orchard Hill Overlook

We continued on to the Orchard Hill Overlook, where we finally sat to eat lunch. We had planned to sit on the rock to eat, but the bench took us by surprise as we got closer. Perfect! The wind was a bit chilly, so we didn’t sit still for long. We followed this section of trail back the way we came and then continued on Blue Trail to hike towards the opposite side of Black Spruce Pond.

Pine tree forest

Pine tree forests are my favorite, and this hike had a few of them. We had an eerie moment in this one, trying to find the source of an odd sound. Our senses were heightened, our bodies on alert, our eyes and ears wide open, listening and searching for the source. Only to realize that it must be two trees rubbing against each other as they gently swayed in the breeze.

I decided to try an experiment on this hike. The core of my body typically stays warm while we’re hiking, but my hands are always cold. I focused internally on moving that core heat and energy from my center, down my arms, and into my hands. Within about 15 minutes, my hands were warm enough to even take off my gloves and peel a few oranges for Dennis and I to eat as we hiked!

Panoramic of Black Spruce Pond

We finished our hike around Black Spruce Pond and returned to our car. Just in time, because I had to pee and there’s not much cover in the woods during winter!

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