Rock Spring Nature Preserve

Location: Hampton, CT

Links: AllTrails; The Nature Conservancy; trail map

Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2019

Time: 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

Hike Duration: 4.5 miles; 4 hours

Stats: Approximately 11,350 steps; 45 floors

Weather: SUNNY!!! light, cool breeze; 35-55 degrees F

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Our lunch with a view

Today was a gorgeous day for a hike! Started off a little bit cool, but some good hill climbs got the heart pumping and the body warm.

We’ve hiked Rock Spring Preserve a couple of times (on snowshoes in January 2018). Today, we followed the Perimeter Trail, marked white on the map. Some parts of the trail along the river will get quite overgrown, so we stick to hiking here when there are no leaves out (late fall to early spring.)

Set off the Perimeter Trail just a bit, there is a spring. The sounds of the small stream flowing from the spring dance in the air. The sound of its gentle trickling is faint and light. Not the rushing roar of a larger brook or river. It feels so calming to listen to while watching the slow, rippling movement of the water and the sparkling of the sunlight’s reflection.

The beginning words of a poem I wrote 10 years ago find their way into my head, like the lyrics from a song being sung to the tune of nature.

oh how it goes
as it ebbs and flows
winding through curves
steps and turns
down and around
it travels through sound
bubbles and gurgles
melt in the air
a washing away
no worries no care
fingers and rivulets
currents of light
rippling patterns
reflect sparkling sight
whispers of green
dance to be seen
moving and grooving
to this moment so soothing
(Afloat; March 8th, 2009)

This poem is like a picture for me. A rhythm of words that bring a memory of feelings and images to my mind. It was actually written about a leaf I watched floating down a small brook during one of my hiking adventures. This moment by the spring, the sights and sounds and feelings, bring me back to that moment in time.

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We explored a trail up behind the spring and seemingly off the property of the preserve, but still on CT state owned land. Then returned the way we came to make our way back to the Perimeter Trail. We paused at various sites that caught our attention before finally heading up to the overlook for our lunch with a view.

Dennis always amazes me with what his eyes will find when we’re out in the woods. As he stood at the edge of the overlook, looking down into the trees below, he spotted a turkey vulture resting on a branch. We got out the binoculars to observe it for a bit before it flew away, and then we took rest on the stone bench to eat our lunch.

A few minutes later, 7 turkey vultures flew across the sky and began circling over us. And as if that wasn’t amazing enough, they all landed in a tree just off to the left of us!

I love what Ted Andrews writes about the turkey vulture in his book Animal Speak:

The vulture is a patient hunter. It can soar for hours without flapping its wings. They are tremendous symbols of flight without power. They ride the thermals and windborne updrafts. They use air currents to interfere with the pull of gravity and allow themselves to fly. In essence, they do not need to expend much energy to oppose gravity. This is seen in the fact that their wings rarely move, reflecting that the power for flight does not come from them. They simply use what is available.

It was a good day to be out in the woods. The touch of spring is in the air, leaving us hopeful for warmer weather. And leaving me daydreaming about flip flops and barefoot walks!

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