Take a Hike

Appalachian Trail Sign in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Appalachian Trail Sign (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

You will find something more in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” ~St. Bernard

Appalachian Trail/Connecticut in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Appalachian Trail in Connecticut (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The winter doldrums can get pretty tough by this time of year.  Many of us are chomping at the bit to get back outside and plant a little, prune a little and dig a little.  Alas, when one door is (temporarily) closed, another one is open-you just have to look for the entryway.  Yes, we can’t work in our gardens, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go out and play elsewhere.  Here in New England, and specifically in north west Connecticut, there are numerous properties to explore, and great trails for hiking.  The air might be a little nippy, but it’s fresh, and exercise is good for the heart and the soul.  So, bundle up, leave the iPod and phone behind, and go out and experience what nature has to offer.

Trail Friends in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Trail Friends (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

For the gardeners out there, a walk in the woods will benefit you two-fold, providing physical stimulation and visual inspiration.  Many local trails are lined with plant combinations that will work as well in your garden as they do out in the wilderness.  These are our beautiful natives, dotting the landscape everywhere we go.  There is much to be admired when taking a closer look at the abundant plant life surrounding us in the forest.  There are stately sycamores lining the river banks, birches and twig dogwoods in the wetter areas, white pines and spruces on the hillsides, hemlocks mingling with beech, oak and maples.  At the lower level, ferns and mosses are still green despite the bitterly cold season.  And speaking of evergreens, our native mountain laurel, both deer resistant and beguiling, should not be overlooked.

Whale Rock at Bull's Bridge in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Whale Rock at Bull’s Bridge (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Lucky for us, we have trails and parks just minutes from our front door.  Naromi Land Trust (www.naromi.org) offers about fifteen miles of trails that run all through our Sherman neighborhoods, over fifty miles of the Appalachian Trail (www.appalachiantrail.org) wind through Connecticut’s north west corner, Kent Falls State Park (www.stateparks.com/kent_falls.html) is refreshing and delightful in summer, but equally beautiful with dramatic ice flows in winter, Bull’s Bridge (www.coveredbridgesite.com/ct/bulls.html ) has hiking trails, enormous rocks lounging about like resting whales, and rushing water exquisitely edged with ice, nearby Macedonia Brook State Park (www.stateparks.com/macedonia_brook.html) is 2300 acres of picnic areas and trails leading to spectacular views, especially when the leaves have fallen, Steep Rock (www.steeprockassoc.org), my old stomping ground with forty miles of trails, many quite challenging, but with breathtaking views as well, and last, the Mine Hill Preserve (www.roxburylandtrust.org/minehill.html), a fabulous old quarry with a restored furnace and donkey trails bordered with impressive stands of native mountain laurel. (For those not in this neck of the woods, visit your state’s park sites for trail information or try www.discovertheforest.com).

So, what are you waiting for?  Tally ho, and away you go!


  1. Oh, how this makes me miss New England!! Sending love from the Rockie Mountains!

    • I’ve been to Colorado, they have some of the most gorgeous (and challenging!) hiking trails in the U.S. And fabulous biking paths that weave through prairie dog havens. We’re both blessed with the limitless outdoor opportunities in our area. Thanks so much for writing!

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