Estimated distance: 4.68 miles
Weather: 57°F, overcast with some rain
Resources: Steep Rock Association's Macricostas Preserve, Points of Interest, Trail Map
Highlights of the trip: views over Lake Waramaug, new birds for my life list
Progress toward 2017 Outdoor Goals: 16/52 hikes; 51.07/250 miles hiked
Even though there can still be surprises when hiking familiar trails, it was time to try someplace new. I especially like hikes that have some sort of reward like a great view or a special feature like a cave or waterfall. I did a little research and presented my hiking partner and her husband with a list of three places we could try. One of them was Steep Rock Association's Macricostas Preserve in New Preston. This hike definitely had the view!
My partner and her husband picked me up on a beautiful sunny morning. When we got to New Preston, it was overcast and a little chilly. I had not planned well and only had a long-sleeve t-shirt to put over the short-sleeve one I was wearing. I figured I would warm up as we hiked.
The first part of the hike was across a field and through an area of apple trees to another field. In the first field, there were a number of bird houses and lots of birds diving and coming quite close to us. The birds were a vibrant blue and, looking them up when I got home, I found they were Tree Swallows. A new bird for my bird list! They were beautiful.
The trail was muddy near the area of Bee Brook. We saw several types of wildflower along the trail including Wood Anemone and either a Wild or Woodland Strawberry. (I'm not sure which).
|Either the Wild or Woodland Strawberry.|
We continued on our way and before too long, my friend's phone started beeping and I received a text. She was getting an alert about lightning strikes in our area (a little late, since the storm had already passed over), and we could hear thunder to the north of us. The text on my phone was from my husband checking to see if we had been hit by the deluge. He had been golfing and the horn blew to get the golfers off the course. On his way home, he said it was raining so hard he couldn't see the road. He was afraid we had been caught in something similar. Boy, we really dodged a bullet this time.
We came to another trail intersection and headed to the right. This was an out and back spur to Waramaug's Rock and the spectacular view over the lake. (There is a blue trail that continues down to the road along the lake).
Looking west over Lake Waramag.
After enjoying the view, we headed back until we reached the loop and then continued in a counter-clockwise direction back down. We came to a view that looked east over the field we would soon be walking around. Shortly after the viewpoint, we saw another bird I had not seen before. I did not get a picture of it, but my hiking partner and I both agreed it looked similar to a nuthatch, but was striped. When I looked it up at home, I found it was a Black and White Warbler.
When we got to the field again, we completed the loop and walked out to the viewing platform over the swamp. If we had approached the platform a little more quietly (we were busy gabbing), we might have had a better view of a Great Blue Heron. As it was, we scared it off and only saw it as it was flying away.
|Looking over the swamp and beaver lodge.|
Despite my lack of preparation for the weather, this was a fantastic hike. The terrain was varied and offered tremendous views and I added two birds to my life list. I look forward to trying another of the Steep Rock Association's properties.