New Haven Inspiring Connections Outdoors
Sleeping Giant State Park
On a warm, beautiful fall day, our New Haven Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) group made the trek to the tower at Sleeping Giant State Park. We started off on the wide, well-maintained main trail (the Tower Trail). It was like Grand Central Station – hundreds of adults, kids and dogs were hiking up and down from the parking lot to the stone tower, a distance of 1.6 miles.
Perhaps the great enthusiasm for the park was generated by the fact that it has reopened after being closed for 14 months. A tornado ripped through the area last year, completely denuding the front side and wreaking havoc along the main trail and all 32 miles of the less traveled ones as well. After a herculean effort, the picnic pavilion was rebuilt and every trail was cleared of downed trees.
So we headed off on the Orange Trail, still popular but not mobbed. Nutmeggers love the Giant, and we were able to introduce our group of Latinx city kids to its wonders: its rock formations, great variety of trees, the streams running along the trails, and the pièce de résistance – the stone tower at the top. The kids (and their septuagenarian leader) played hide and seek among its hidden recesses, and we gazed through the stone portals at the City of New Haven, Long Island Sound, and Long Island across the water.
We had so much fun that we went back in early November, on a much colder day. We saw icicles hanging from rock outcroppings and watched black water droplets (what I call pollywogs) slipping down ice-covered boulders. This time at the tower we played tag and a dry land game of Marco Polo.
Future trips include ice skating, and, if snow permits, cross-country skiing at Winding Trails in Farmington. We also do nature-based education. Contact Melinda Tuhus if you want to join the fun.
Melinda Tuhus is a reporter for WPKN, an activist with various climate groups, a long time member of Sierra Club and the leader of New Haven Inspiring Connections Outdoors.