Loving Life: Greenwich Audubon Society, Collins P. Huntington State Park, & Larsen Sanctuary


I personally love being active.  I love enjoying my health and world around me, and I LOVE living life.  Who knows, I could die tomorrow, and if that is the case, I could honestly say that I’ve been able to do everything I wanted to and could up until this point.  Don’t get me wrong – there is still SO much more I want to do, but my life isn’t ready for it yet.  My boyfriend has the same energy level as me lately and since we haven’t been able to do anything together all week because of our busy schedules we decided to plan an awesome day together.  If you follow me on instagram (mackadoo3314), you have already seen a sneak peek of our day, but here’s the real deal:

7:00AM:  Up and at ‘em!  we got up nice and early on our Saturday to ensure that we could get the most out of our “only day off” so to speak.  Breakfast sandwiches, coffee/redbull, and rain…lots and lots of rain.  But that didn’t stop us.  We’re a “whatever it takes” type of pair, and contrary to what some may thing, I’m NOT the Wicked Witch of the West and won’t melt under water.

8:00AM:  As you may know by now, Ben is somewhat of a lumberjack by trade, and he loves it.  He knows more about trees than almost anyone I know (My Uncle is also an arborist, and has a few years on Ben, so he may have him there :) ). Anyways since Ben loves wood so much, he always jumps at the opportunity to tell me about what he does – so, that being said, first stop:  Beaver Brook Saw Shop in Scotland, CT.  Ben had to grab some equipment for his men, and I got to peruse the store…who knows I might need a chainsaw someday.

As you can see from the left side picture…the weather was dreary…and by dreary I mean when I got out of the car to take this picture, i got SOAKED!! To the right we have a cared beaver that stood along side of many other beavers (some real, some not) inside the shop.

9:30AM:  We started out trek down to Greenwich to go to the Greenwich Audubon Society.  I didn’t want to be negative, so I didn’t point out the obvious:  it was POURING…and as we drove, the rain seemed to get heavier and heavier.  It was even hard to see out the window at some points.  But, like I said, we were in it for whatever it takes…a little rain never hurt anyone!  2.5 hours later when we finally made to the Audubon Society, something amazing happened…the rain stopped.  It didn’t “let up” or “slow to a drizzle”, it straight up STOPPED!  It was like God knew we were on a mission and since we hadn’t given up yet he threw us a bone! Greenwich Audubon Society welcomed us with a gorgeous building where they had a gift shop (although the only thing we could afford in there was a deck of cards or a post card), an art gallery, and other various maps, etc.  Then we started out first hike…It was a bit different than I expected.  Mainly because we were at an Audubon and we didn’t see one single bird!  We did see some other cool wildlife though!  Additionally, most other audubons that I have been to, which admittedly is only about 2 have been more in marshy areas with lots of bird houses and less in the woods.

We saw a bull frog, a green frog, a painted turtle, a snapping turtle, and another bright green frog that I thought was maybe a bull frog as well but it was super bright green.  The best part of this hike?  The Greenwich Land Trust was having a guided hike, and invited us to join in on it.  Though we chose to do our own thing, they did still give us some  trail maps for this hike and others around the state, and an AWESOME heavy weight frisbee!  Score!

The Greenwich Audubon Society – As you can see the skies looming above look a little scary, but we were banking on the hope that the rain was done for good!

Some sort of Fungi on a fallen tree. It was so bright, we couldn’t resist photographing it!

At first on the trail we were seeing all these yellow and orange petals everywhere. Initially I thought they must have been from flowers, but Ben promptly informed me that they were actually from the huge Tulip Poplar trees that were surrounding us! The storm that just passed through must have knocked many of the flowers/petals off the trees.

The frogs we found! Going clockwise starting at the top right: That frog was HUGE!! way bigger than my hand. I suspect it weighed about 5 lbs. The smaller frog was cute (i thought anyway). I was pretty close to catching it, but then I got scared, so Ben had to catch it for me…which is what he is doing in the bottom picture – whata a guy!

Some parts of the the trail were replaced with boardwalks, which were really cool!

Mead Lake! We hung out here for a while because hidden in all those pretty lily pads was a whole new ecosystem. Ben found a spotted turtle (a little bigger than a half dollar) on one of the lily pads, and when he was trying to catch it he found a baby snapping turtle (a little bigger than a quarter). I didn’t get pictures of these because i was too big looking at the pretty flowers (daisies are my FAVORITE) and observing all the fish which I could see in the water while standing on the bridge.

This hike ended with another board walk and the LOUDEST, GREENEST frogs I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe that such a small animal could make that loud of a noise! I love frogs, but I wold NOT want to live next door to these fellows! They’d keep me up all night! (btw, if you can’t tell off the bat, if you look closely you can see one of the frogs in the pic on the left).

1:30PM:  Lunchtime!  Whenever we go hiking we go prepared with lots of PBJs, water, and other snacks.  We scarfed down our first round of sandwiches and hit the road!  Off to Redding to the Collins P. Huntington State Park.  It took us about an hour to get there from Greenwich, which was a perfect break in between hikes.  We LOVED this park and are definitely planning on bringing out mountain bikes down here.  In the 700 acres of property gifted to the state by Archer Huntington (Collins’ stepson) there are hundreds of trails.  We were only able to stay for a couple hours, but let me tell you…we really could have meandered on these trails all day long.  If you do ever want to go down there, just be forewarned that the growth on either side of the trail is EXTREMELY heavy.  There is poison ivy and other things like that, so be careful!  Some of the trails on the map are impassable (unless you regularly carry a machete with you).

We saw TONS of wildlife here!  It was awesome!  We saw what I believe is a Red Winged Black Bird, a black bird with a white tail and yellow head (which I’m having a really tough time identifying), a red fox, a white-tailed deer, a tree snake, and 3 water moccasins.

These two sculptures are part of Anna Hyatt Hutington’s collection. Anna was Archer’s second wife. She is best known for her equestrian statures world-wide.

Starting at the top left: This is where we saw all the birds (it was a marshy area with lots of high grass. Ben carved our initials into a tree (top right), A fern (right middle), The park sign (bottom right), two fireflies (bottom middle), and a pretty butterfly (bottom left)

I’m not exactly sure what this is, but it’s definitely an old foundation to something! Cool!

This is about where I was peeing my pants…Ben found some water moccasins…3 to be exact. I’m not afraid of much wild life, but snakes, particularly water snakes…and ESPECIALLY poisonous ones are NOT my cup of tea. Of course, Ben being a boy, wanted to catch one. I didn’t want to burst his bubble so I just stood back and dealt with the onset of severe anxiety and prayed he didn’t get bit. He didn’t THANK GOD, and luckily after about 15 minutes, he decided not to continue testing his luck.
Can we also appreciate his tube socks? 25 going on 60! haha

4:00PM Snack time again!  Another PBJ and some crackers and we were ready to go to our 3rd and final hike of the day:  Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield, CT.  It only took about 15 minutes to get to Larsen Sanctuary from Huntington State Park, in fact its right down the street!  This place was AWESOME!  all the trails were well marked- this would be a GREAT hike to bring small children on.  It’s completely flat, well marked and there are tons of short trails.  So you can really go for as long or short of a hike as you want.  It is apparent that a Boy Scout troop is actually doing a project there, so everything was super pristine.  We only saw some regular stuff there like chipmunks and squirrels, but towards the end of the hike we saw a HUGE red-tailed hawk!  It was awesome!  This peaked our interest on birds of prey, which lead to Ben “getting into” the bird sanctuary to sneak some pictures.  Don’t worry, we left a donation to aid the “high price of food/care for these birds”.  Take a look!

Larsen Sanctuary! We are ready for this!!

Trail markings – between this and the map, we were totally ready to go!

Me and Ben <3

Barn Owl ben snapped a shot of! So cool!

6:00PM: Last stop:  FOOD!!  thank god!  we were famished from all the walking/hiking we did all day.  My sister told me about this pizza joint in Fairfield called Colony Grill.  I’m a fancy myself a pizza connoisseur and have been dying to try this out for months.  They have pizza and beer.  That’s it.  limited toppings, no extras, no salads, no wraps…this is my kind of place! We got 2 pizzas:  one with pepperoni and bacon, and the other with sausage and peppers!  They were both AMAZING!  Thin crispy crust, light sauce, light cheese, and the perfect amount of toppings!  I can’t wait to find a reason to go back…and I’m sure I wont have much trouble “finding a reason”!  Especially since Ann Taylor Loft is directly across the street…shopping spree anyone??

Jager Bombs, and Pizza!! can’t go wrong!!

8:00PM  We started our trek home.  As you can see, we had a wonderful day together!  Did SO much stuff, and got some great exercise and GREAT pizza…if only every day could be so amazing!! I can’t wait to continue our mission of finishing our “50 Hikes in CT book” and look forward to many more days like this in the future!

I hope your Saturday was just as great!

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About erinHasThoughts

I just started eHT in January of 2011, and I'm shocked and humbled that people read it! For some reason it seems like I am always in the most ridiculous situations and witness things only seen in movies, so I like to share my experiences with all of you. Thanks for reading! xo

Posted on June 3, 2012, in 50 Hikes in CT, Bucket List, Hikes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You guys are C-UUUUU-TE! Busy bees..you got alot packed into that Saturday!!

  2. This sounds like an amazing day. Seriously. I love when a day is as perfect as you had hoped it would be. I knew you would like Colony! It is just so good. And I love how un-fussy it is with only salad and pizza on the menu.

    • I love it too!! It was amazing!! Ben and I are always looking for fellow hikers if you and Matt want in on a hike let me know (one that especially comes to mind is Heublein Tower since it’s close to you! Ben has never been there before so I want to wait until fall so he can see it in full fledged foliage) But of course we could do one during the summer too!! :)

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