Bee Brook; Join me for a hike along a Mystical New England Trail in New Preston, Connecticut
© Copyright 2011 Tracy Lynn Conway with all rights reserved.
Walking onto a great nature trail is like entering a perfect dream; you leave the fast paced world behind and enter a piece of heaven on earth. This is how I feel about Hidden Valley Preserve located in Litchfield County, Connecticut, U.S.A. Hidden Valley has three looping trails, I walked along the trail called Bee Brook.
There is a sign identifying the brook itself and a slightly muddy section of grass where tire tracks remain from the cars of previous visitors, but like many great trails, the most likely way to find this hidden treasure is by word of mouth. For a few years after moving into my New England home I have overheard the mention of this trail on numerous occasions but finally one day had the time and adventurous spirit to visit it for myself.
This trail is exploding with an abundance of moss and lichen which make for an rare visual experience. As a lover of the color green I was awestruck by the mystical appearance of the flora. I concluded that the mist from the brook in conjunction with the pine and deciduous trees running parallel with the brook trap this moisture and allow the moss and lichen to grow with abandon. The air feels moist and almost tropical, which adds to the mystical feel of the walk.
This is a level trail that lies alongside the eastern bank of the brook on what was once a bed for the Shepaug Rail Road. This train carried passengers from Hawleyville, CT and ran from 1872 through 1948. The line was shut down when the profit margin was too small to maintain the equipment.
This region was once home to the Native American tribe called the Quiripi, sadly this tribe was devastated by smallpox and other European diseases.
My young son and I take this walk now regularly and it is a favorite trail for us both. I brought my camera along and snapped some photos to share with you. I hope you enjoy the view.
I was not only amazed by the volume of moss and lichen but by the way these trees griped onto the rocks and managed to grow in spite of the odds.
Lichen growth, or the absence of it, is used as an indicator of air quality. Not surprisingly, lichen populations are on the decline worldwide.The species has a history of use in traditional medicines, and recent research has corroborated some medicinal properties of lichen extracts.
This and other tributaries to Bee Brook contribute to the high level of moisture on this trail
An exquisite specimen of lichen. This is my favorite shade of green.
The carpet of moss made me feel that my inquisitive son could easily be replaced by a mystical fairy.
Moss do not have flowers or seeds, their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems. At certain times mosses produce spore capsules which may appear as beak-like capsules borne aloft on thin stalks.
Lichen is also used to make litmus paper and as a dye to color tweed jackets.
Thank you for joining me along the Bee Brook Loop.
I hope you enjoyed the trail as much as I did!
Lichen with Dean Greene of Eat the Weeds
More about the trails
Hidden Valley has three blazed trails:
Bee Brook Loop (2.2 mi.)
Van Sinderen Loop (3.5 mi.) and
Pinnacle Trail (.9 mi.)
- Connecticut Indian Tribes and Languages
Information on the Native American tribes of Connecticut, with maps, reservation addresses, classroom activities and recommended history books.