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Hiking the Old Gick Farm Trail

Updated on August 21, 2014

Wilton Wildlife Preserve Trail Series: Old Gick Farm

Wilton Wildlife Preserve Trail Series: Old Gick Farm

This trail is a very interesting one because this area was once an operating farm. Aerial photos taken as recently as the 1960s show this area as largely open fields. Through the years, as the farm lay shallow, shrubs and trees grew and reduced the number and expanse of open areas.

Recently, through efforts by the Wilton Wildlife Preserve the early successional habitat that is so critical to the survival of many imperiled species including the endangered Karner blue butterfly, state-threatened frosted elfin butterfly, is undergoing preservation efforts. Work projects include re-planting of Blue Lupine, which the butterflies are so dependent on, and removal of white pine seedlings that will crowd out the Blue Lupine if left to grow unchecked

Other species of special concern include the eastern spadefoot toad and eastern hognose snake.

Delegan Brook flows through the western portion of the Old Gick Farm and has created a beautiful wetland. An overlook along the trail provides a wonderful view and hope of seeing a moose, as well as a heron or two. Other birds you may encounter along the trail are of the meadow variety, including the Indigo Bunting and the Prairie Warbler.

Protected in 1998, the 136-acre Old Gick Farm provides wonderful opportunities to walk, cross-country ski, and snowshoe. New York State owns the Old Gick Farm.

Trails surfaces are sandy. Trails meander through and alongside an oak-pine savannah on gently rolling dune-like terrain. Muddy or wet spots are rare. There is also a designated horse trail that is most suitable for those within walking distance.

The day I walked the trail, in early June, I chose to walk the blue and yellow trail, for a total of 1.5 miles. There is also a red trail, but it is only .4 miles and dead-ends at Scout Road. The yellow trail is the one used for horses, but it is still walkable if you watch out for their inevitable droppings!

Early June is the time that the Karner blue butterflies hatch, and they are a sight to see when they fly in clouds. Unfortunately, the day I hiked was an overcast, cool day, so their numbers were somewhat diminished, but I managed to get a few good pictures to show you.

What was also amazing was the endless carpet of Blue Lupine flowers, flung across the fields as far as the eye could see.

This trail is a lot of fun to walk because of the variety of the landscapes, and it will also give you a workout. As I said, the trail surfaces are mostly sandy and that really gives your legs a workout, but there are also a lot of hills, which will also give you a workout. This trail is just about right for families, and kids can handle most of the terrain. In the areas of the taller hills, hikers are assisted by wood steps, so the hill doesn’t seem so difficult.

Both trails meander through the restored fields and provide plenty of opportunity for butterfly viewing and bird watching. Calls of “drink your tea” from the Indigo Bunting and the ascending buzz of the Prairie Warbler fill the air.

The yellow trail also runs parallel to a railroad track and the lucky hiker can see a freight train or the Amtrack train speed past. On the day of my hike, I waited for around twenty minutes in hopes of seeing a train, but I wasn’t so lucky.

As the yellow trail merges back onto the blue trail, it wanders through forested land, and the lady slippers were in full bloom, along with violets and wild strawberry plants in bloom.

Once you are back on the blue trail, it too becomes forested, and after coming down a hill, you will get your first view of the wetland I mentioned earlier. Although there were no herons that day, I have seen them in the past there. Once you go up the hill, you will come upon the observation deck, and a patient person will be rewarded with several animal sightings.

A word of caution about this trail is the presence of snakes, of the non-venomous variety, including the Hog Nose and the common Garter. They like to sun themselves along the trail, so keep a watchful eye for them.

Near the end of the blue trail on the right you will see some of the remnants of the farm house that once stood on this beautiful property before emerging into a field. It is interesting to think of the family who once owned this land and wonder what happened to them.

So there it is, the Old Gick trail. I really enjoy this trail and I hope you will too.

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