Walktober hike offered up Commons Hill
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Tue., Oct. 11, 2011
At one point in history, it was possible to view the Lebanon Town Green (the “common”) from the top of Commons Hill. Thus the name. Trees have matured over the years, and the view of the common has become obscured. But a hike up the moderately-difficult terrain of the Commons Hill trail is still rewarded by a gorgeous view of the town, especially once fall colors have begun to take hold of the valley. A large group of intrepid hikers found this out first-hand on Oct. 8, as they joined Mike Lang for the first-ever Walktober walk up Commons Hill.
The event was co-sponsored by the Lebanon Conservation Commission and the Lebanon Historical Society Museum and offered a 2.4-mile hike up hilly, rocky terrain through mature forest. “The trail was just opened last year,” said Lang. “It still needs a bit of work.” The trail was originally a road, closed by the town of Lebanon in 1929 along with a number of other roads. Recently, during a Conservation Commission survey, “We discovered that the town owns 26 acres on top of Commons Hill,” said Lang. The commission set about cleaning up and clearing the trail, and the area is now open year-round to hikers. There is a short loop trail at the top of the hill on town-owned land.
Northeast Utilities owns the land surrounding the town-owned parcel and allows limited hunting on the land. A sign at the head of the trail recommends wearing orange during hunting season, though “very rarely do you see hunters up there,” said Lang.
There was nary a hunter in sight on Oct. 8, as folks navigated their way through a number of swampy, muddy areas along the trail. “We were hoping it would be drier than this by now,” said Lang. But the majority of the trail was easily navigable, though hiking boots or sneakers are definitely recommended. In addition to the inviting vista, the top of the hill offers an open meadow habitat, where a number of insects (moths, butterflies, praying mantis) made themselves visible to the hikers.
The Commons Hill trail is open year-round to hikers. The head of the trail is located next to the Liberty Hill Cemetery, adjacent to the Log Cabin Restaurant (383 Trumbull Highway).
Sponsored by The Last Green Valley, Walktober was developed as a means to promote the beauty, history and attractions of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers National Heritage Corridor. Walktober continues through the month of October. For a list of events, go to www.tlgv.org.