Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Safe Harbor

I put the glorious weekend weather we had to good use, in my way, tuning up for all the hiking that this month holds for Walktober with a small one of my own along the Heritage Trail to the Norwich Harbor on Sunday.

The Heritage Trail is, in my opinion, more notional than actual and not very well marked in any event. I began at the Upper Falls part of the trail which doesn't end but, rather vanishes suddenly just beyond the pump house and you, the hiker, have to take the wooden stairs back up to Sherman Street and then to Sachem Street.
A few hundred feet further you'll hang a right onto Yantic Street and admire Uncas Falls to your right while continuing past the two sets of condominiums and the paved path at but not quite on the banks of the Yantic River. From there, there's more unmarked paved walkway all the way to Tyler Street and down Sturtevant on the paved walk ,with a "Heritage Walk" sign that links it to Maple Grove.

It's an uphill hike to Washington Street before you can access the main part of the Heritage Walkway behind Christ Episcopal Church that runs all the way to the Norwich Harbor.

Some of us dream of a day when the Heritage Trail runs all the way around the Harbor and up the Shetucket River banks past Greeneville, Taftville, all the way to Occum and beyond. I'd settle for just joining up the broken threads of the trail as it exists now, putting some signage on it so it's not the best kept secret in town and leaving tomorrow's dreams for tomorrow to take care of.

Sunday afternoon was a glorious time to be at the Harbor and I say that as neither a fisherman nor a boater, just a happy wanderer. The water reflected the azure skies above with just the lightest of breezes allowing the gulls to sail and skim the top of the water all the while crying out to the Harbor's two-legged visitors for handouts. They were joined by the usual armada of ducks with a few geese and the ever-present sparrows, all of whom pretend they can't read the DEEP signs prohibiting their feeding.

There was a lot of activity at the Marina and at the boat launch, with craft of all sizes on trailers across Howard T. Brown Park. I can see why friends who know about these things express concern at how inadequate the facilities are at Brown Park. Days like Sunday help me better appreciate the challenge of the task facing the Harbor Management Commission in expanding and enhancing the Harbor as a recreational outlet for all to enjoy.

For those of us without children enjoying a picnic near the gazebo or casting lines from the floating dock that extends into the Thames River, it was a terrific day for photos and memories with an enjoyment tempered by the knowledge that the number and quality of these sunny and warm days will dwindle down as the days grow shorter and autumn afternoons surrender to chilly New England winter nights.  
-bill kenny

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