Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Great Avalonia Trail Trek 2021

A peaceful early autumn trail.
It’s September and finally the weather has turned, to encourage outdoor activities.  We have waited patiently for these less humid, blue sky, comfortably cool days when a hike or any other minor exertion doesn’t leave you sweating and out of breath!

I would expect most of us don’t really need any other reason to head onto a trail but this is also the time when we are planning the second annual Trail Trek to benefit Avalonia’s mission to preserve, protect and manage open space here in southeastern CT.  

No two trails are the same.
At this point in time, Avalonia cares for almost 4,500 acres and the number of towns in which these preserves are located, is continually growing.  If you are anywhere between the Thames River and the RI Border, or south to Little Narragansett Bay and Fisher’s Island Sound, and north to Griswold and the Pachaug Forest area, there is an Avalonia preserve near you (

All of our preserves are open but not all are trailed. The Avalonia website is linked to the CT Trail Finder app and those preserves with trails are easy to find and well described.   Last year folks hiked, ran or did a bike loop connecting as many preserves as possible. You can bring your four footed friends along on most preserves ( there are a couple of exceptions) as long as they are on a leash and run along beside you. 

At Knox Farm, you can pull up in
your kayak and go for a hike.

 This year an added attraction will be a kayak component. Many preserves in Stonington and Groton have water access or are visible from the water.  Several years ago, I posted a blog with some directions and ideas. A Blue Trail.   Now we have some freshwater access in Griswold and soon may even have access from the Wood/Pawcatuck River to our new Sheets Preserve in North Stonington.

At least one preserve will allow mountain biking for part of the event.

The TriTown Ridgeline Forest trails
are more challenging.
Last year Trail Trek helped complete our funding for the Tri-Town Ridgeline  Forest.  This preserve is Avalonia’s largest, most diverse and ecologically unique property. There are majestic trees, rocky ledges, clear streams, pre-colonial stone structures and even a true mountain!  It now has literally miles of well marked trails, some easy and some challenging, and all beautiful. They are perfect for hiking and trail running. Everyone had fun last year, and we exceeded our fund raising goals with great gratitude to all who donated. 

Those of you who have come to know me, through the blog or otherwise, know that I need no extra incentive or reason to be outdoors.  It is a passion, and some might say an obsession. A healthy one.  I don’t always need to be on a trail.   Boundary work gives me a good excuse to go off trail and check out more remote corners.   This is my favorite time of year for kayaking.  The water is warm and really clear, and the colors of autumn reflect so beautifully with the September-blue sky.  I hope I can launch my little boat during the trail trek week but surely will be out hiking.  This year “my team” will be the Stonington Stewards, dedicated to all the people who help me here in town, build bridges, pull invasives, mow trails populate the work parties, and who support all the projects we are involved in.

Please support Avalonia in all aspects of the good work that is being done.  More land preserved, more trails maintained,  more outreach and education.  It is all good.



A bike route may take you past untrailed
properties that you didn't know about!

Some trails open up to amazing views!

A bench welcomes tired trekkers.

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