Autumn hiking in Devil’s Den, Connecticut

Sign at Devil's Den Nature Preserve in Connecticut (Photo: Nick Carter)

Sign in the woods at Devil’s Den Nature Preserve in Connecticut (Photo: Nick Carter)

Hiking in autumn is the best.  It’s not too hot, not too cold, not many bugs, the leaves are changing color – I love it.  This year Nick and I took a ride to Devil’s Den in Weston, CT for our yearly hike.

Devil’s Den

We were a little surprised when we rolled up and found that there was no ranger station or bathrooms, but there was a large map and printed maps you could take, so we were set.  I should take a map-reading course though because a few thin and heavy lines in a massive nature preserve is definitely not detailed enough to keep me from getting lost.  (Really, look at this map, it’s ridiculous.)  Therefore, it became Nick’s responsibility to get us out of there before nightfall.  The day was beautiful, with perfect weather and the leaves changing color – we had a great walk, it was a little hilly, not too much, just enough to make it not a walk in the park.  I was a little disappointed we didn’t see any wildlife until we got back in the car and a chipmunk scampered past us, but at least it wasn’t like in Vermont last year when I spotted large animal tracks and freaked out or in Bear Mountain where a snake slithered right in front of us and we almost didn’t find our way out before dark.

Geocaching

There was an added agenda on this trip in that there were 2 geocaches in the preserve to look for.  Actually there are more than 2, but I copied the coordinates for the 2 easiest ones.  We went looking for The Man, a homemade man-like creature that is hiding among some boulders.  We poked all around for half an hour, looking for this thing, scared to death that a snake would pop out at any moment.  Ninety-one other people have found this geocache and we were the only ones who couldn’t.  It was really infuriating to admit defeat, but we had to – unless we wanted to take another chance in not getting back to the car before the sun went down.

As we turned to get back on the path, there were several moments of panic.  Where was the path??  Since all of the paths were covered with fallen leaves, we could not find the trail.  We had ventured off it quite a bit to look for the geocache and now had no idea which way to go.  One look at Nick’s face told me he didn’t know either, even though he said he did.  I guess one look at my face told him he better lie.  Some people are afraid of spiders, some of water, some of leaving the house – I am deeply afraid of getting lost in the woods and having to spend the night with wild animals and creepy crawlies – plus I didn’t bring the bear spray this time.  After about 10 minutes of trying not to go into a meltdown, we found the red and yellow trail we had been on and were thrilled to be back on our way.

Redding Roadhouse

We spent about 3 hours on the trails and decided we had a good time and were tired enough to call it a day.  Yelp helped us find a place to eat dinner before the 1-1/2 hour ride back home.  We picked the Redding Roadhouse.  Nick started out with a sausage sampler that he enjoyed and we split some delicious placki (potato pancackes).  He chose a bacon burger and fries which was very good and I had a fried fish sandwich that was made of very thick pieces of lightly fried fish – it was really delicious, except for the fact that they put tartar sauce on it after I asked them to leave that off, and had to scrape it off and eventually just ditch the top roll.  The room was rustic looking; it had a lot of character with a fireplace and nice bar area.  There were quite a few Mark Twain pictures on the walls.  We were too busy eating to find out the story, but we also saw signs while driving that read Twain this and Twain that, so we assumed he lived in the area back in the day.  I absolutely Loved the old blues music they played in the background and if it wasn’t so far away, would have probably become a regular.  To get back to the food – Nick had ice cream for dessert and I chose a slice of German chocolate cake, very yummy.  I would definitely recommend the Redding Roadhouse.

Blair Witch

We both had a great day on our annual hike this year and I topped it off that evening with a viewing of The Blair Witch Project, which I always found scary because they get lost in the woods.  I wonder where we’ll go next year – any suggestions?

Devil's Den Preserve in Weston, CT (Photo: Nick Carter)

Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston, CT (Photo: Nick Carter)

November 11, 2013

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