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The Jessie Girard Trail

Posted by mrssmythe on August 25, 2014 in Hiking |

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This fall, we’re committed to exploring the state parks and forests in our local area. There’s so much available within a two hour drive of our house, that it’s crazy we haven’t done this sooner.

Well, no more.

This past weekend, I chose a trail, and we drove an hour south into Connecticut, to the 3,000 acre Peoples State Forest. There, we found the Jessie Girard Trail – a two and a half mile loop that features 299 stone “stairs” on its way up to two scenic overlook points. Classed as “moderate for children”, it gave all of us a good workout – especially at the start.

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As taxing as it was going up, it was almost more difficult negotiating those steps on the way back down, when all of us had jell-o legs. We probably should have had proper boots on for this hike, too. Thankfully, nobody rolled an ankle.

There are two overlook points. The first, in particular, is very nice.

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We didn’t pause too long at the second, though. A couple was picnicking there, and we didn’t want to ruin the ambiance.

The trail, itself, is very clearly marked,and we did not get lost – which is saying something, because CPT America and I have a history of getting lost on hikes.
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And, while the scenery was standard New England forest, there were some fun highlights:

Enormous boulders that Ginger couldn’t resist climbing,

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and some really interesting plant life.
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I do wish I’d taken the time to read the pamphlet I grabbed at the trail head, though. It gave information on the “Lighthouse Loop Trail” which branches off of the Jessie Girard Trail and passes five points of interest within an abandoned 18th century village site. We saw the cemetery from the Jessie Girard, but completely missed the charcoal kilns, an enormous grinding stone, a stone quarry, and a cellar hole. These are all that remain of the village which was founded by a mixed-race couple in the mid-18th century. (He was Native American, she was European). Her family didn’t approve of the match, so they fled to the wilderness. After awhile, other “outcasts” joined them and a community was established. The pair eventually had eight children and were both extremely long-lived; he died in his nineties, she was 104.

So, anyway, we missed the village, but if we ever return, we’ll be sure to add it to our hike.

From the dining room table, thinking that I should tell you it’s called the “Lighthouse Trail” because light used to shine through the gaps in the couple’s log cabin and it became a beacon for travelers,

Mrs. Smythe

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