Not a Cairn in the World…
Globe Hollow, Manchester
January 22, 2017
Hoo boy, get ready to have your mind blown. The official town trail description says that the “Globe Hollow Trail” is 1.7 miles long, but there are many more miles of trails here.
I couldn’t then – and still can’t now – quite make out what trails are what within the Globe Hollow Map, as they just sort of keep going and going all over south Manchester down into Glastonbury.
And I won’t pretend that I hiked every foot of this network, but I did get around to most of it.
But where to begin… where to begin. All Manchester gives me is, “One of the newest and prettiest trails in Manchester.” Thanks.
I guess the logical place would be the Globe Hollow Swimming Area on Spring Street. I’m guessing that the trail that begins here and goes south to the Martin School on Dartmouth street is the 1.7 mile trail… thing? Then there’s the little loop off of Fern Street that takes yields another view of the Globe Hollow Reservoir.
This is a nice little section of trail, but who wants to hike around the pool with all the riff-raff?
Let’s go down to Fern Street and check out the Taylor Reservoir instead. Much more peaceful.
This network of trails travels around Manchester Water Department land. And there is a LOT of it. Not just here in this section of town, but all over the place, including a huge swath in Glastonbury.
As such, many of these trails pass well houses and, well, reservoirs. Strikingly, they are all pretty well marked and cleared. I really don’t know who maintains these trails – as there are probably at least 15-20 miles of them, but kudos to whoever it is.
The loops down and around the little Taylor Reservoir are quite nice; you’d have no idea that you are in Manchester.
I have no idea if the Taylor Reservoir is utilized for anything anymore, as it seemed pretty fetid, small, and beaver-owned.
In fact, I’m 99% sure I just missed seeing some beavers in action as I approached the water. I heard a soft splash and these trees looked like they had just been beavered.
Darn. In all my hiking I’ve yet to see a beaver chopping down a tree. From there, I completed the loop back to my car on Fern. I still had much to do.
I drove over to an area I was already familiar with – Hercules Drive. It is here where the old Nike Missile Recreation Area is located, which offers a few trails of its own. I wrote about that really cool area here.
I parked at the gate on Hercules Road and began hiking up the hill towards the water tower. Along the way, I passed several remnants of the Nike Missile days; underground battery bunkers, old telephone poles and the like.
Who knew Manchester had all these hidden gems?
Past the water tower and into the woods, I came upon what surely must be a Connecticut superlative:
I’m guessing that this is, probably, the largest cairn in the state. Why is it here? It’s not super easy access from anywhere. Sure, there’s a daycare at the old missile site, but I doubt little kids would care to build such a thing. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
I’m guessing there’s some sort of YMCA day camp program or something and It’s part of their annual ritual. It’s so well built; so symmetrical… There I was, in the early AM alone in the Manchester woods on grimy December day… staring in awe at this giant cairn on an unnamed Manchester Water Department trail.
It brought me joy. I’d missed the beavers earlier, but I got to see this thing. And now you do too.
From there, there are a couple trails that bumble back down the hill towards the Globe Hollow Reservoir. (If you’re wondering, the reservoir is the one you drive over by Manchester Country Club on South Main Street just south of I-384.
One branch of the trail actually goes to the 17th fairway. I’m not sure why you’d bother with that though. It’s dumb.
The other branch heads over to Lakewood Circle South – a residential street with parking by the reservoir. It’s much prettier there. Do that instead.
Actually, who am I kidding? No one’s going to hike all these Globe Hollow Trails, are they? I imagine local mountain bikers use this network far more than hikers; especially as they connect to other cool area in Glastonbury and probably beyond.