Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Walks: River's End, Long Island Sound

New England winters test human and dogs. Blasting winds, cold clawing at your face and stinging sand await - but walking daily means sometimes the weather is a true force to reckon with.

Like this recent stormy day at Hammonasset Beach State Park. (In my family, when someone says "the beach" this is the destination.)

Located in Madison, the park offers plenty of walking and thinking space in the winter. No fee is charged for admission in off-season. Do note that if there is snow, the front gates most likely are closed and all walks start there.

Here's an excerpt from the history of the park, listed on the Connecticut DEP site (which offers maps and links worth a look): "Hammonasset' means, "where we dig holes in the ground" and refers to the place where a settlement of eastern woodland Indians farmed along the river.

"In 1898 the Winchester Repeating Arms Company bought Hammonasset and used it as a testing site for their new rifle . . . which it was fired into targets on the beach.

"During World War II the park was closed to the public and loaned to the federal government as an army reservation."

The geology at the park is quite interesting too. The rock beach at the south end shows off the glacial outwash and on clear days walkers can see Long Island, a terminal moraine. But that's another story.