I Met a Calf
Metcalf Nature Preserve, Ellington
~0.75 miles, March 2019
Regarding my title above, I didn’t actually meet a calf on this hike. But since it’s in Ellington, you believed me, didn’t you? Of course you did.
Ellington is one of Connecticut’s fastest growing towns which means there are new houses everywhere – and where there’s not, it seems like there will be soon. As a result of this, many of Ellington’s trails are survivors of a sort.
For the hiker, this means that it often seems as though you are trudging through backyards. In some cases, you literally are. But the Metcalf Preserve exists because of those neighbors, so this should be celebrated.
In the late 1700’s, the area of Ellington in which this plot of land sits was reserved as a communal woodlot. Throughout two centuries of ownership changes, town boundary changes, and divisions of land, this particular parcel remained untouched.
In 1973, the Metcalf Nature Preserve was gifted to the town of Ellington by Homer Metcalf in remembrance of his father Clarence. The property was donated for purposes of conservation and passive recreation with trails established by the Junior Women’s Club and maintained by the Boy Scouts. Unfortunately, as times and priorities changed, the property fell into dususe and became inaccessible from its main entrance.
However, since then and thanks to the efforts of vigilant neighbors, sections of the trail were kept clear and safe through those years and now a new entrance has been cleared between and behind houses. Let’s check it out!
The main trail is the Blue Blazed Loop, about 0.85 miles. There are a couple cut through trails and some little dog-leg spurs here and there. A typical neighborhood trail web. The entrance path must be quite new with its lovely stone path and inviting kiosk.
Once into the woods, I don’t think we were even out of sight of the nearby houses. Which is fine – this is a neat little spot for little kids to explore the woods safely and feel like they are hiking “for real.”
As for seasoned veteran Calvin here, he raced around the blue loop, took in a few sites, and was ready for the next hike.
(And… shhhh…so was I.)