January 18, 2011


Welcome to the Wanderings of the Woods Hippie!  This is a blog about my outdoor experiences in New England, Connecticut in particular.  New England never gets credit for being an outdoor sports destination, but, as the natives well know, this corner of the country is rife with opportunity if you're willing to search it out.  The Connecticut outdoorsman has his pick of passions to pursue; our hillside roadways are well suited for cycling and motorcycling, there are ample state forests and conservation lands on which to mountain bike, hike, and hunt, there are miles of coastline and plenty of lakes and rivers to fish and paddle, and, if Ullr is so inclined, good nordic skiing is available almost everywhere.  The key is mindset...Connecticut doesn't have the biggest and best but it has variety.  The Connecticut adventurer quickly learns that the most fun can be had in those obscure places that often go unmentioned...

That said, my intent for this blog is to share my experiences in the Connecticut outdoors and wherever else my travels may bring me.  As you may have already surmised, my interests are varied and the heavy hitters include motorcycling, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, cycling, paddling, and camping.  So, let me jump right in to and shed some light on a pre-dawn ski mission...

As a 40hr a week cubicle farmer, my outdoor opportunities can be limited during the dark winter months, so I begrudgingly drag myself out of bed early on workdays to sneak in an hour's skiing at a state-owned conservation land near my house.  This morning greeted me with 3 inches of fresh fluff on top of the 24 inches that fell in last week's Nor'easter.  This is the first winter in MANY years in which CT is actually developing a snowpack...and many backwoods trails are fully accessible to those with nordic skis or snowshoes.

The drive in was hairy but manageable.

Conditions were just about perfect for nordic skis - the snowshoers had broken a nice trail over the last week and the fresh snow was silky, cold, and fast.  My headlamp illuminated the falling snow and limited my visibility to a few feet in front of my skis. 

Annoyed, I switched off the lamp and the whole forest became visible, like a scene from a waking dream.  The ambient light from the city was enough to outline the trees and frame the trail.  Unable to discern much detail at first, I navigated by feel by keeping the skis in the defined track.  The airborn snow diffused the light like a soft blanket as the dawn strengthened.  I paused in the cold and dark and listened to the increasing hiss as the snow turned to sleet.

This morning's jaunt was not about getting exercise; it was about enjoying winter in a context that most people chose to ignore.  The dawn twilight is a solitary hour, one shared exclusively with the landscape and a few hungry owls.  Most mornings I am greeted by an electric blue and magenta sunrise that ignites the bare tree branches from the east, but today I was content with a quiet grey backdrop.  After an hour's effort, I returned to the car and began my descent off the mountaintop and into the workday...with fierce beardsicles as the only evidence...


  1. Thanks for sharing hippie. I love those Grey winter mornings.

  2. Great post, I love it!