This is a really big preserve which is filled with lots of wet areas, from big ponds to small puddles, swampy wetlands, and little brooks. The main trail takes you through several of them. There are tumbles of rocks left by glaciers and beautiful trees in the forest.
above photo courtesy Rick Newton
Total Hike & Seek Targets: 6
What kind of wetland do you like best: a big pond, little swamp, a stream or small pool? Each one is a special kind of habitat with different animals that make their home in it. Take a picture of your favorite.
Mini Christmas trees? Along the ground in many places you can find several kinds of plants called club mosses. These look like little evergreen trees, but this is as big as they get. They stay green all year, and at certain times have spore stalks that look like candles! This one is called ground cedar.
VERY TALL TREES
In these woods, there is a grove of very tall straight trees that are called tulip poplar trees. Poplar trees grow very straight, and have flowers, way high up, that look a bit like tulips. Find one of these trees and look straight up. Take a picture. Pretty awesome!
WALK THE PLANKS
Sometimes wetlands can pop up after a rain or overflow into the trail. Bridges are not just to protect our feet from getting wet, but to help protect the fragile habitats. Stop on the plank bridge and look around. Is it wet? There could be insects or even frogs if it is. Even when there is no standing water, there are special plants and mosses that don’t like to be stepped on!
Parts of the trail weave in and out and around an area of tumbled boulders. This part of Ledyard has many preserved areas that are famous for this kind of landscape, a glacial moraine, the result of the glaciers pushing and moving and then dropping the rocks out of the ice. Be careful here, the rocks can be slippery. Think of all the great hiding places for animals in this rocky area.