He Prefers LEGOs to Tinker Toys, But…
January 2, 2017
I’m not sure what I was thinking, shuffling my five-year-old into the car for the trip out to Ashford to do some short hikes within some Joshua’s Trust properties. There was barely any snow on the ground in West Hartford, sure, but Ashford is a bit further north and… snowier.
Calvin’s an awesome kid, and has hiked before in some real snow (see here), but he had his boots that day. Oh well. He still kicked butt.
Tinkerville Brook is one of seven trailed Joshua’s Trust properties in Ashford. Having only hiked two at the time of this writing, I can’t really say it’s one of the best, but… it’s probably one of the best.
And even if it turns out not to be, the Tinkerville “area is named after a group of tinkerers – otherwise known as gypsies – who once lived near a mill along the stream,” according to Peter Marteka’s Courant article about the place. And that’s fun!
(If you’re hot for hikes that take in “tinker” places of yore, you can head to Avon’s Garvin-Maher Trail and its Tinker’s Midden. Weirdo.)
The 1.4 mile out-and-back trail here is flat, well-marked, and well-cleared. It travels along a little stream and past an old gravel pit. I only mention the former gravel pit because everything I’ve read about Tinkerville mentions the thing. I have no idea why that’s remotely interesting though. It’s just a little chopped out section of a hill.
After that excitement, the trail took us near a very pretty pond, through a nice stand of laurel, and up and down some humps before approaching the highlight of the property.
The trail entered a thick stand of mature hemlocks as it re-approached the now-robust stream. Calvin became excited as the sounds of a man-made waterfall could be heard through the dark forest.
The remains of an old bridge from a long-ago mill site create a sort of snapshot of history here. Marteka: “According to local historians, the bridge abutment once carried Spalding Carding Machine Road over the brook, supplying area mills and taking the manufactured products to market.”
Carding is a mechanical process that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web or sliver suitable for subsequent processing. This is achieved by passing the fibers between differentially moving surfaces covered with card clothing. It breaks up locks and unorganised clumps of fiber and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other.
But y’all knew that.
Calvin and I couldn’t really clamber down to the tumbling brook below due to the ice and snow, but we did poke around a bit. Take it from my five-year-old: “It’s cool.”
Continuing on, the trail does a loop down to Bissonette Pond where Tinkerville Brooks meets its end. My lack of pictures of the pond is due to the fact that we didn’t actually trek down there, as Calvin’s feet were getting a little cold and, well, who needs to see some old pond anyway.
Matt Woodward’s cool videos about Ashford’s Joshua’s Trust properties