Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shoreline Greenway Trail, Madison CT (Part One)

Welcome to Shoreline Greenway Trail

The Shoreline Greenway Trail is being built as a continuous path for bicyclists, walkers and hikers and for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and help create healthy communities along the Connecticut shoreline.

Our 25-mile trail on the Connecticut Shoreline will extend from Lighthouse Point on the New Haven Harbor through East Haven, Branford and Guilford, to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

I hadn't heard about the trail, but I certainly noticed the end of it (or the beginning of it) at the entrance to Hammonasett State Beach Park when I drove that antique RV of mine across the Boston Post Road (CT Rte. 1), just down the road from those stones painted like a Turtle on the Hammonasett Connector off Route 79 that causes my grandkids to cheer, "We're almost there!"

I finally got around to walking (and then biking) down the "new to me" trail a week later, just this past Sunday and Monday, looking for some stones with that "Indian Look," especially those beautiful "lacy" stone rows that stretch across the present day edge of Long Island Sound (and into Rhode Island - and those other Islands, like Martha's Vineyard), hoping to spot a stone heap or two, and especially to see if there are any good examples of the artwork I claim exists in this ancient stonework built by Native Americans. I thought just maybe I'd find some stone turtles, composed of stones, rather than just that spray painted outcrop along the connector...

I started out at the Hammonasett end of the trail and boardwalk that will eventually lead to Lighthouse Point in New Haven, but before I even set foot on the synthetic boards, I noticed a boulder...

(I don't know if it had been recently moved or if it's been sitting right there smiling for a long, long time; the State Beach has a long history that includes once being a military facility, so lots of human activity has modified this place "where we dig the ground" that when I was just a young boy was thought to mean "digging for clams," but now seems to be thought to mean "digging to plant corn," although Native Americans planted corn in mounds, along with squash and beans, the famous Three Sisters. {See: http://www.lisfoundation.org/coastal_access/hamm_humhx.html where the Native American presence of 15,000 years is given a paragraph}.
The boardwalk section allows you to travel over some salt marsh, but soon turns to a gravel bed, accentuated by some curious stone work - curious that there seems to be a lot of what some people tend to think of as Manitou Stones sort of "accidentally" or coincidentally being placed at the edges of the graded gravel trail. I noticed a few small stones and then in the distance a larger one caught my eye:
Closer up, it appeared to be a breach in a stone row:

(I'll come back to this little piece here, where the remnants of the oldest looking stone row extends out into the salt marsh and Tom's Creek, like this below:)

I seem to have located this row on the Google Earth option on Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS459US459&hl=en&tab=wl
And I seem to have located the general area on the online 1934 CT Aerial photography at http://cslib.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4005coll10/id/353:

The most interesting things are to be found on that hill on the left of the map, the detail here:
A little enhancing, the red line being the salt marsh row:
The dark lines are stone rows, today covered in bullbriar or greenbriar and poison ivy mostly, hidden from view except for here and there. I caught a glimpse of a row that I may not have highlighted only after I saw this, a couple cobbles on a large boulder:

(Some smaller stones below the cobbles:)
Of course I had to look for more; sometimes there's a cluster of these. I didn't spot another but in a kind of reversal of usually finding the stones on boulders or heaps along a stone row, I spotted the stone row after finding the stone concentration above:
Tumbled down, perhaps robbed of stones, cobbles and/or small boulders in the past, extending upward, rather northerly, the row was more intact (and this view is looking toward the west): 
My Turtle Stone Curiosity was aroused, so to speak, so I just had to take a closer look. And found a really beautiful testudinate specimen on the west side of this stone row. 
It sits up on top of the row, here in a sun dappled Sunday photo:
Monday's photo:
Some close up photos:
(Painted and cropped first:)
Those feet or forelegs or flippers maybe be a single split stone, worked just a little to get the toes just so, especially the turtle's right foreleg perhaps...
A slightly different view:
Just below that left foot, there's a little concave spot on that stone below it. If I were going to give a little pinch of tobacco to this turtle (and the Great Turtle as well), say a little prayer or something, I just might put it right there, maybe in a bigger and prettier shell that fits better than the one I just happened to have in my pocket:

So, I'm wondering about just where all these stones along the gravel trail of the Shoreline Greenway Trail are coming from - and it's not too hard to imagine that some might be coming from, if not on but quite near some already compromised stone rows, perhaps as suggested here:
There's some Bobcat trails plainly visible that I haven't walked down. I'm going to head down a particular one sometime this weekend, bringing along my camera (the above are all cell phone photos).
I wonder what Doug Harris might think of this; perhaps if you are in contact with him, you might suggest he stop by and take a look at this spot - it's not too hard to find. 

(Just a little bit away from that last photo)

1 comment:

  1. Love that row that runs into the marsh. dc.