The Crooked Canes Journal


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Dean Farm Heritage Trail ~ Nov 15, 2017

Journal entry by Fran Herve



I had only discovered the Dean Farm Heritage Trail a month ago and after walking the trails by myself I was so impressed by the construction and the ease of navigating that I knew I would want to lead our group there this fall although many of them had already visited the location several times since the construction of the trails.


The farm land was donated by the Dean family to the town of Stony Creek. It is now owned by the town and ESF. A total of thirteen trails have been arranged into loops for a distance of a little over 3 1/2 miles.


Twenty three hikers arrived in the small parking area of the Dean Farm Heritage Trail off Murray Rd in the village of Stony Creek on a cool Wednesday morning. We were delighted to notice that Mark had decided to walk with us instead of just dropping off Joy as usual and Gail had brought her grandson Eli along.


The trails are spread out on both sides of Murray Road. We started on the East side which is the hilly part. The gravel trail begins in a flat area and passes a nice pond with a well constructed observation deck. The pond had frozen over and there was no sign of life around except for the chickadees in the pine trees around us. We followed well-marked and professionally designed trails through meadows. Sturdy boardwalks made walking easy in wet areas and two rustic bridges added to the beauty of the scenery. Kurt and Peter called it a new hike for the Canes because the previous time the group had walked in a clockwise fashion and this time I chose a counter clockwise approach. Soon the path led us into the woods with more scenic views along a brook. We walked through a beautiful forest of oaks and pines, some of them very large pines. The trail rose through a few steep sections where short sturdy wooden ladders where built. Our pace already slow with all the conversation slowed even more. A little ice had formed during the night but we were thankful that we did not have to strap on our microspikes. With no leaves left on the trees the forest offered a different perspective. We arrived at a picnic table but it was too early for lunch and so after a few photos we continued up the ridge and down another ladder past a few loop intersections. Seven year old Eli, having already hiked several high peaks with his family must have found the pace to be much too slow but he amused himself the best he could with the ladders, bridges, spotting and trying a large log that had been cut to form a bench with a back to rest against. We returned past the pond and arrived back at the road.

 
Reaching the parking lot we headed for the western trails. This one mile long section is handicapped accessible with picnic tables, seating areas, wooden walkways and outstanding views. It comprises three loops and with just one minor hill it is an excellent spot for an outing for people who seek the outdoors with gentle terrain. It would also be perfect for easy cross country skiing. We enjoyed lovely views of fields, woods and stream and educational signage that informs readers of the wildlife present in this area, remnants of wild plants including fluff from milkweed pods.

Soon we arrived at our lunch spot: a wooden structure on the edge of the Stony Creek, complete with a viewing area, a picnic table and two corner benches. Every one chose the perfect perch. There were enough large logs to sit on and rocks on the edge of the creek also. It had warmed up enough to enjoy lunch and more conversation along with the babbling of the creek.


However all good things must come to an end and after a while some remembered chores or dinner plans waiting for them and it was time to say our goodbyes. Thank you Kurt and Diane, Peter and Linda, Lynn, Donna and Peter, Katie, Bonnie, Joy and Mark, Sandy and Bob, Jim R., Gail and Eli, Lenore & Jack, Mary, Denis and Barbara for sharing this beautiful sunny day with me.

11/19/17 - Sandy Powell added 3 photos.

12/1/17 - Wanderer . added 11 photos.

22 photos



Taking a break.



Climbing up to the ridge.



Enjoying the forest



Eli waiting for us.



Wagon and milkweed fluff spreading seeds at the start of the western trails.



Lunch by the Stony Creek.



By the creek.



Perfect perch!



Photo added by Sandy



What's for lunch? - added by Sandy



Is that a cute baby duck? - added by Sandy



Some background info on the Dean Farm and plans for the day from our leader - Fran - added by Wanderer



Approaching the wetland on the east side of Dean Farm - added by Wanderer



Trailside stream - added by Wanderer



First snow - just a dusting - added by Wanderer



Delay at one of the steep sections - Jack is having a great time! - added by Wanderer



Taking it nice and slow - added by Wanderer



Regroup at an overlook - added by Wanderer



Denis guarding the bridge - (do you recall the fairy tale "Three Billy Goats Gruff" - if not, Google it) - added by Wanderer



Now those are some steps! - added by Wanderer



Enjoying some sun and good conversation at lunch - added by Wanderer



Lunch along Stony Creek - look closely at Mary wondering if Denis is sleeping (I apologize for the shadow over Denis) - added by Wanderer



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