Sometimes the internal compass works, and sometimes it doesn’t. On a gorgeous Saturday in CNY I took a drive with Tucker the New Dog in search of the Whaupaunaucau State Forest. The 1,188 forest is about five miles east of Route 12 in the town of North Norwich.
A missed turn here and a missed turn there meant I took the long way to the forest entrance on Post Road, but we got there. Once on the trail system, which was well-marked but a bit confusing without a map, I relied more on my desire to be in the sun than which trail made the most sense.
It worked out fine, as we did a 3.7-mile hike that took us past Jeffrey’s Pond, a lean-to available to campers, and through a wide range of pine, Norway spruce, and maples. (You can see the exact track here.). The color was nearly gone, but the leaves along the trail crunched constantly, inspiring visions of a gigantic bowl of Rice Krispies and its amplified snap, crackle, and pop.
The state forest has 13 miles of trails for hiking and cross country skiing. For your daily “I didn’t know that” moment, Whaupaunaucau is the native American word for land of the marten, a tribute to the animal in the weasel family that used to inhabit the area. When you win your next CNY trivia contest with this one, you can thank me.