Photos and story by Stephen Flanders, Norwich Trails volunteer
On September 26th, nine explorers and two hosts assembled at the trailhead to the Upper Valley Land Trust’s Brookmead Trails off of Turnpike Road for the sixth and final hike of the 2020 Discover Norwich Trails program.
We received an introduction to the Upper Valley Land Trust’s property from Paul Blazevich, Outreach and Donor Programs Coordinator. We then divided into two groups and headed out on our hike. The Brookmead Trails can be thought of as having a coat-hanger configuration with a hook and a triangular loop. We went up past the power line to the main intersection to follow the outer-most loop, counter-clockwise.
The morning was frosty in the mid-20s. We enjoyed the frosting on the landscape and even saw some needle ice emerging from the ground. Needle ice extrudes from the surface when the freezing front is near the soil’s surface. Later in the winter, as the freezing front penetrates deeper, the same phenomenon causes frost heaves, which push the surface upwards.
The terrain is easy to moderate for hikers. The trails are curved in a way to accommodate the mountain bikes that share the path. The far ends of the “coat-hanger” connect on the north to the Blue Ribbon Connector and the south to the Parcel 5 trails.
Along the way we passed by a variety of ravines with pools, passed through hemlock and stands of deciduous trees. We encountered a few cultural artifacts of yore, including an aluminum pan and a gallon can for livestock spray. On the way back, we visited the log cabin on the property.
After about two hours of walking, we returned to Brookmead Farm and were rewarded with sunny views of pastures and plants that had gone into over-winter mode.
Upon reaching the parking lot, we discovered that we weren’t lost, after all!
Our hike followed the red line on this map, counterclockwise:
This hike was part of the Discover Norwich Trails program, which features a different trail on the last Saturday of the month, through October.
For other completed Norwich Trails Discovery hikes, click here.