Wednesday March 1
Robinson Hollow State Forest
Hike report by Jim
Eleven hikers met on Harford Slaterville Rd. for a hike south into Robinson Hollow State Forest.
I was surprised at the snow depth we found on this hike. While not particularly deep, the snow was still deeper than various hikers reported at their homes.
The FLT leaves Harford Slaterville Rd., crosses over the beaver dam (no beavers visible today!), and weaves through lower elevations, gradually making its way up the hillside before leveling out. Here, the trail skirts the edge of the state forest, and many trees by the trail are festooned with posted signs. Distant fields and hillsides were visible through the leafless trees along the trail.
At the crest of the hill, the trail passes through some nice sections of woods, crosses over the natural gas pipeline right-of-way, and continues south through the forest. When the trail starts to go downhill, the hikers who’d gone that far turned around and made their way back.
Due to the snowy conditions, we didn’t get as far as we get on this hike in summer months, but it was still a good hike through beautiful snow-covered woods.
Saturday March 4
Groton Village Trails
Hike report by Jim
Twelve hikers and one dog met on Spring Street Extension for a hike of the Groton Village trail system. Weather conditions were overcast with intermittent winds, although nothing like the winds that had been blowing in the area the previous evening
Once in the woods, the trail winds through the trees in the form of an old logging road that crosses a couple of small waterways before arriving at the first fork. We took the lower fork and gradually worked our way down the hillside toward Sovocool Hill Rd. Despite being fairly close to Groton Village, most of this section of trail gives the impression of being deeper in the woods than you actually are.
Before coming out onto Sovocool Hill Rd the trail forks again, and we followed a utility line up a steep slope for a short while before taking another fork, which brought us out onto an upper part of Sovocool Hill Rd. We crossed the road and then resumed hiking on the lower trail loops, which brought us out behind Groton High School.
By this time, many hikers had fallen. Although the snow wasn’t deep, it was slippery and concealed a layer of slick mud that sent several hikers slipping and sliding down the hill.
At the high school, I changed our return route. Rather then scale the steep, slippery slopes we’d just come down, we road walked through the village to another trailhead and used that flatter section of trail to return to the upper trail loops above Sovocool Hill Rd. This allowed us to climb a much gentler slope than we’d found on the lower trail loops.
As we returned to our cars, a sharp wind with strong snow flurries arrived to batter us as we crossed the fields back to the parking area.
Welcome to Arlene on her first hike with us!
Sunday March 5
Texas Hollow State Forest, Hector
Hike report and photo by Jim
Fourteen hikers met at Texas Hollow for an out-and-back hike of the FLT to Newtown Rd. Snow was minimal at the trailhead and through much of the outbound leg of the hike. The snow became deeper and crustier as we got closer to Newtown Rd.
The trail overall was a decent hike as it left the parking lot and entered the woods. After passing the small pond, the trail gradually winds through the woods with some ups and downs, passing over several small streams in the process.
Finally, the trail begins a serious elevation change and goes through a series of switchbacks before arriving at Newtown Rd.
On the return leg, we took the blue-blazed loop trail, which gave us a view of the opposite side of the pond and passed through some nice stands of evergreens before returning to the FLT.