New Year's Day hike offers a challenge

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 5, 2012
The hike started out on level ground, with organizers warning folks the terrain ahead was steep, muddy, slick and challenging.  Photos by Merja H. Lehtinen.
The hike started out on level ground, with organizers warning folks the terrain ahead was steep, muddy, slick and challenging. Photos by Merja H. Lehtinen.

More than 125 walkers and 40 dogs gathered for the second annual New Year's Day hike on Jan. 1. Everyone met at the entry of the Norton family property to set out on a 4-mile loop that followed the Scantic River.

John Mitchell gave up four tickets to the Patriots' game just to “experience life” rather than be a spectator of sports. “I am going to walk while I can,” he said, while walking with Alison George and Catherine Gonsales, of South Windsor. The three made it through the entire trek and were grinning ear to ear. “I did it, and finished thanks to them,” said Mitchell, pointing at his companions. When he read it was a walk for anyone 8 to 80, he thought it was going to be an easy walk in the country. What ensued was a challenge for many. The trio was jubilant they finished the course as a team.

The trek was not a simple walk in the woods. Although it started out easy enough through fields and even quaint covered bridges, it eventually became a briar-filled path with logs and single rope rails to traverse the streams that led into the Scantic River.

There was a steep incline of about 100 feet where hikers scrambling up had to watch for places to grab a sapling or root to avoid slipping back down. People helped each other, often extending a hand out to pull another hiker up from behind. Near the end of the long walk, Andrea Nicoli and Tommy Mascaro were giving puppy Chipper a break by carrying him.

Millie Stevens of Windsor decided she was going to walk as part of her recovery after double knee surgery. At the end of the day, with the sun just starting to set, Stevens was waiting patiently for the van to return walkers to their cars, but it was such a beautiful day she did not mind the wait. She said she plans to make her next hike a trek up the Seven Trails of the Swiss Alps.

The walk was held by the American Heritage River Commission. To learn more about the organization, or for updates about AHRC events, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/American-Heritage-River-Commission.


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