Guests explore park on New Year's Day

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
East Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 3, 2013
(L-r) Steve Hurchala, Keena, Annette Fortune, Deb Donovan, Mary Collins and Rebecca Coyle ready for the American Heritage River Commission's third annual New Year's Day Hike. Photos by Colin Rajala.
(L-r) Steve Hurchala, Keena, Annette Fortune, Deb Donovan, Mary Collins and Rebecca Coyle ready for the American Heritage River Commission's third annual New Year's Day Hike. Photos by Colin Rajala.

New Year’s Day is a lazy day for many people, who spend it sleeping in or lounging on the couch watching football games or maybe a movie marathon. This year a number of residents of north central Connecticut got out of bed and off their couches to participate in the American Heritage River Commission’s third annual New Year’s Day Hike at the Scantic River State Park in East Windsor.

“It was wonderful event for all ages on a beautiful day,” said John Burnham, the American Heritage River Commission’s vice chairman. “It is wonderful to see so many people experience such a great place in East Windsor. We want people to enjoy it and be safe.”

More than 200 guests walked down to the end of Melrose Road bundled up in their snow and hiking gear, with their walking sticks and thick boots prepared to go on the 2-mile scenic hike. Participants came with pet and people food to be donated to the East Windsor Five-Corner Food Pantry before huddling and socializing around an oil drum fire to keep warm. Guests were greeted by Commission Chairman Richard Sherman before the crowds made their way down the slick entranceway to the trail.

The route followed the packed-down snow trails marked with yellow reflectors, and hikers were encouraged to walk at their own pace as they hiked across wooden bridges, through fields and dense woods taking in the sights of the snowfall over the landscape, animals in nature as well as the picturesque river. The second portion of the hike was more difficult as they negotiated the windy path, trekked through the mud flats and traversed the slippery hills and slopes of the park’s ridge.

Groups of six to eight members of the commission spent more than six Saturdays preparing the state park for the hike, primarily removing debris and clearing fallen limbs and brush from the trail. The commission hopes events like this allow people to familiarize themselves with the park and come back to use it more often. They also encourage guests to clean up any trash they see on their visits, as well as to clip any brush or overhang while they hike.

“For us, it’s a labor of love, it’s where we want to be, it’s what we enjoy doing the most. It’s not even like work; it’s fun,” Burnham said.


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