Indian Well State Park • Weir Farm National Historic Site • Lovers Leap State Park • August 4, 2017
Curtis had a 3 day weekend for the first weekend of August, so we planned a little day trip to visit our final Connecticut county. It’s much easier to knock out whole states when there are only 8 counties! We drove over to Fairfield county in the morning, and made it to our first stop of the day: Indian Well State Park. Our main reason for visiting here was to see another Sky’s the Limit Challenge site, a waterfall in the park.
When we arrived in the main parking lot, it looked like there was a large group of people gathering to do some work in the park. We crossed the street and made our way to the small waterfall, reaching it after a very short and easy walk. After this, we needed to find the site’s official letterbox, but the clues directed us to the opposite side of the creek, up high on the hill. We knew better than to try to climb up the very steep and loose ground (signs at the beginning of the trail said not to as well), but we hadn’t seen any other trails off the main one that would get us up there. We returned to the trailhead where the group of people were getting ready to begin their work. It turned out that most were volunteers there to do some trail maintenance. We asked if they knew a way to the top of the waterfalls, and they said that trail was on the way to where they were headed so they offered to show us. We’re very thankful they did, because the side trail wasn’t well marked so we might not have found it on our own! We followed them up for about a quarter mile to where the trail we were looking for went off to the left, thanked them and went on our way. If we were settled down in a place long enough, we’d love to join a group like this to help maintain trails — maybe in Hawaii?
Curtis was able to find the letterbox, and after logging in we made our way back to the trailhead. It’s good to see the trails being improved and taken care of by these volunteers; however, we found this park to be rather trashy — not unlike many other state parks and trails we’ve visited. We picked up so many bottles and cans along just the short part of trail we hiked — 75¢ worth of returns! The irony is that on our way here, we heard a radio DJ complaining on a local station about how many state parks and forests were making alcohol illegal in the parks — he was saying things like “our tax dollars are paying for these parks, why can’t we go and enjoy a drink in the woods?” Oh how we’d like to call in and give him a piece of our minds…also, maybe if people are really concerned about taxes they’re paying, perhaps they should try collecting bottles and cans and enjoying the bit of “tax return” you get from returning them? Just a thought. It’s been a while since we’ve hiked in places outside the Northeast, but we don’t remember the South or the Southwest trails having as much litter as we’ve seen up here.
Anyway, I digress — Our next stop was the highlight of the day. We drove 40 minutes West to Weir Farm National Historic Site, Connecticut’s one and only National Park Site. Some friends had told us it was worth a stop and recommended we do the Junior Ranger Program, so upon arriving Curtis went to the visitor center to figure out what we needed to do. This park has several different activities geared towards kids to help them learn about the site through a walking tour while looking out for different highlights, but adults are welcome to participate as well! This park’s program had an extra incentive, as part of the program is focused on finding a series of letterboxes — yes, letterboxes at a national park site! We easily spent over an hour here, and ended up earning a Junior Ranger badge and a patch.
Weir Farms, like Saint-Gaudens in New Hampshire, is devoted to preserving the legacy and works of the American Impressionist painter J. Alden Weir and other American artists who made the farm their home. We weren’t able to go inside and take tours of the buildings because we had Charlotte with us, but we still feel like we got a lot out of our visit. It made us wish that we had done more Jr. Ranger Programs at some of our other National Park sites in the Northeast. The rangers here were also very friendly and we had a great time chatting with them, and Charlotte enjoyed all the love and attention they gave her.
Our last stop for the day was at Lover’s Leap State Park, North of Danbury. After a little trouble locating the trailhead, we set off for a short 2 mile hike. Along the way, we saw ruins from a “castle” and a fireplace and chimney, and came upon 2 vistas overlooking the Housatonic River/Reservoir. It wasn’t anything overly amazing or strenuous, but an enjoyable walk nonetheless, we found a few letterboxes, and Curtis enjoyed snacking on raspberries along the way. (If you’re interested in seeing a map of the trails we took, visit our AllTrails recording page)
And that was our day in Fairfield County — now, not only can we say we have visited every county in Connecticut, but we’ve also found at least one letterbox and have done a short hike in each one! The only other state that we can say that of is Arizona. As for our goal of visiting every county in each state, we have now finished 5 – 10% of the way there!