Free outings open to club members and the public. RSVP yes only here providing cell phone should weather require a change. Please, no cell phone use or smoking on these outings.  Safety vests required when kayaking.

Hike Tunxis Trail, Barkhamsted. October 10, 2015 at 1p.m. Join the Sierra Club for a 4 mile point-to-point hike on a section of the Tunxis Trail in Barkhamsted. Moderate difficulty over hilly terrain at a fast pace.  See the cliff and boulders of Indian Council Caves, and sweeping views from Pine Mountain. Free. Non-members welcome.  Hiking experience or physical conditioning required. No dogs, please.  Bring food and water. Heavy rain cancels.

Meet in Barkhamsted at the junction of Legeyt Rd. and CT-179.  Questions/carpooling: Amanda 860-416-0081, amanda.kenyon@sierraclub.org. (All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the Liability Waiver before you choose to participate on an outing, please contact the hike leader.

Hike Penwood State Park, Saturday 10/31 10am (Simsbury, CT)

Meet at the parking lot just off the Rte. 185 park entrance. Please RSVP yes only by 10/30 to mchawigirl@yahoo.com  If you say YES and change your mind, please let me know so I can hike nearer home instead. You can mapquest/GPS Stafford Street and Hartford Road intersection in Simsbury, CT for a site close to park entrance.

Directions: Rte. 91 to exit 35B, Rte. 218 west. Take 218 until you reach Rte. 189 north in Bloomfield.  Turn right onto Rte. 189 and continue north to Rte. 178.  Turn left onto 178 proceed to end where it intersects with Rte. 185.  Turn right onto Rte. 185.  Ahead about a mile on the right is park entrance.

Friendly dogs are welcome but must be leashed as others approach.  Messes on the trail must be removed.  All hikers, adults and children over 10 years of age, with or without dogs are welcome as long as they refrain from cell phone use and smoking and can tolerate our dogs.

Kayaking Willimantic River & Eagleville Lake 9/26/15
Saturday Sept. 26th was cool and breezy midmorning, so we moved our kayak outing to the Willimantic River and Eagleville Lake.  Three of us launched from Mansfield’s River Park on Plains Road near Rtes. 44 and 32 and paddled 2 1/4 hours.  A 100 foot portage down a gravel path leads to a concrete launch but it’s easy with a buddy.
The lake is only 80 acres, but the long river stretch was idyllic and allowed plenty of room to wander especially among the many side coves with abundant birds.  You do need to keep track of the path traveled down river so you don’t veer off into shallow side channels on return.
First we headed up river spotting zooming goldfinch and flitting phoebes as box turtles warmed on logs or sandy banks.  When it shallowed out, we turned south, passing below tall bushy river banks free of the breezes seen in tree tops.
Along the way, a great blue heron swooped from low on one bank to perch on a tall tree on the other and a flock of red winged black birds dashed about marsh bushes and mallard ducks glided across our path.
That area of the river is undeveloped with clear water over a sandy, rocky bottom.  The stillness save a few birdcalls was welcome to our ears.  Leaves were beginning to change but probably more from the drought than cold weather.  There's only a few houses along the lake, including Birch Isle with its toppling gazebo at water's edge.
Light wind was only noticeable in the lake on return where a bass fisherman with the only motor boat seen, easily caught two keepers while we passed back and forth.  There three cormorants urgently paddled from watery, shady resting spots to take flight.
A red tailed hawk and some turkey vultures rode thermals over the river in high lazy circles as we returned to the launch.
Take care, Renee