Lakeville, NY

Hiking at the Sharon Audubon

Rachel Yerks
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Sharon Audubon's mission is to protect birds and bird habitats. They manage four nature sanctuaries and over 2,100 wooded acres in Northwestern Connecticut. They also run a nature education center, serve as a forest conservation hub, and run a Wildlife Rehabilitation clinic.

However, the part of the Audubon that is most used at this time is their hiking trails, which run all throughout the woods on the property. Although the buildings are closed because of the pandemic, the trails are open and free. You may also drop some money in a donation box near the trailhead if you wish.

An easy, 1.5 mile Easter hike with beautiful river & pond views
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Easter hiking is a tradition for many families, and mine is no different. My parents, myself, and two family friends went for an after-dinner hike. We ate early, so we started our hike at about 4 PM. We ran into a few other groups at times, but we were alone for the majority of our hike.
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Of the available routes, we choose the white-marker route, also referred to as the Hendrickson Bog Meadow Trail. It was about 1.5 miles long with a steep elevation at the start and then a slow decline. We got to see both the pond at the start of the hike that everyone sees regardless of the trail they pick and then a pond further down that was more secluded.
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The trails are marked with easy-to-see trail markers every few yards so you won't get lost. You may have to look around for these markers though, as sometimes the trees are on the ground! Use your imagination to picture them in a vertical position and choose the right direction. The trail system is too small to actually get lost, don't worry.
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The Hendrickson Bog Meadow Trail has some water sections with wooden bridges to cross on. These bridges are very sturdy; you have nothing to worry about. This section is right before the second pond and was the highlight of the hike for me. We could see minnows and other fish swimming below us as we walked towards the bench area.
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Once you take the wooden pathway through the bog area, there's a large platform with a square of benches. The five of us sat down, but it was definitely a tight fit. We took lots of photographs and enjoyed the nice weather. We watched a few swans swimming and then headed on our way.
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Another interesting feature is this bird blind for photographers. It has plenty of peepholes to look through and set up a tripod in front of. Images of popular birds in the area are located towards the top of the hide to use as references when spying for birds. There are benches to sit down in the blind, but they are rather caked in bird poop, so look before you sit.

Final thoughts

Hiking on Sharon Audubon's Hendrickson Bog Meadow Trail was a great way to help us digest our Easter meal. We enjoyed the lovely, brisk weather, had some exercise from the sharp incline, and then had a relaxing remainder of the walk coming back down the mountain.

I am incredibly out of shape and had no issue walking this trail. I wouldn't recommend it as a hike for anyone with difficulty walking and/or elderly, as there were plenty of holes to twist your ankle in if you didn't pay attention. The trail was very well marked and squeaky clean. We even got to see a beaver dam and some chewed-up trees. Check out the trails at the Audubon!

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Owings Mills, MD

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