Monday, September 27, 2010

Seth Low Pierrepont State Park

This week the Women's Hiking group will be exploring the park. But who was Seth Low Pierrepont? He was a millionaire and ex-diplomat who served as a US official in Italy, France and Chile. He was also chief of the American Division of the US State Department. In the early 1930's he purchased this large tract of land from the Scott family and made it into his estate. Upon his death in 1956, he gifted it to the CT State Park & Forest Commission. Its 313 acres contains trails with views, Lake Naraneka (Pierrepont Pond) and history.

The Scott family has a long history in Ridgefield. David Scott was one of the original Proprietors and purchased lot 13 on June 3, 1712. The family included a number of Ridgefield patriots, tanners, millers and of course farmers. When Rana Scott married John Barlow Jr. in 1789, this area was already referred to as the Scotand District and was a thriving community. It is the old foundation of the Scott house dating from 1720's that can be seen at the boat launch. Hints of their farming life can be seen in the stonewalls throughout the park and the cellar holes on the northern end of the park. One of these cellar holes was John Barlow's blacksmith shop. What is now Old Barlow Mountain Road was a main thoroughfare into town. General Wooster led his troops along it on his way to meet the British Army in what was to become The Battle of Ridgefield. Scotland & Barlow Mountain Elementary Schools along with Scott's Ridge Middle School bear the legacy of this family. (photo by sdgtx2003 at Panoramio)

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike at Seth Low Pierrepont State Park this week on Oct. 5th and Oct. 7th.
Meet at 9:30am in the parking area off Barlow Mountain Rd. Near Scotland and Barlow Mountain Elementary Schools.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The DC Women's hiking group will hike Topstone Park in Redding, CT the week of Sept. 21st, meeting at 9:30am.
Take Topstone Rd. off of Rt. 7. Follow the road across the railroad tracks staying on Topstone Rd.
It will turn into a dirt road. Continue on road and there will be a parking area on the right.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Women Hiking Group - Week Sept 14

This week we move onto Aldrich Park for our twice weekly hike. The park has a series of woodland trails with many outcroppings of ledge, boulder fields, glacial erratics and stonewalls. As the mammoth glacier that covered Connecticut receded 15,000 years ago, it dropped the boulders it had picked up during its march south. These boulders have no relationship to the surrounding geological formations. They just appear erratically and thus they are called glacial erratics.

Meet Tues. and/or Thurs. at 9:30AM at the Aldrich Park parking lot just off New Road. It is not far from the intersection of Farmingville Road.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jupiter - A Gas Giant

The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter could hold more than 1,000 Earths. In the late summer, early autumn you can't miss it as it rises in the east shining brighter than any other object in the night sky (except the moon of course). It takes almost 12 Earth years for it to orbit the Sun but only 9 hours 56 minutes to spin around its axis. This fast rotation makes it bulge at the equator and flatten at the poles. It has 16 moons, rings and one big red spot. The Giant Red Spot is caused by winds spinning in opposite directions and has been observed for 300 years.

Only the Sun generates more radiation then Jupiter. This makes approaching it extremely dangerous. In August 2011, NASA will be launching a probe called Juno to explore it. To protect Juno's "brain from being fried" from such massive radiation, engineers added a unique protective shield around its sensitve electronics. This basically makes Juno into an flying armored tank.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bennett's Pond

This week the Discovery Center Women Hiking Group will begin its twice weekly meetings in Ridgefield's largest open space Bennett's Pond. The 440 acres were acquired by the town via eminent domain in 2001 and conveyed to the State of Connecticut in 2002 to be made into a state park. It is made up of a variety of landscapes from meadows, woodlands, and wetlands to steep ridges. Its most profound feature is the 70-acre pond which is one of the sources of the Saugatuck River. This vital watershed supplies the drinking water for a good portion of lower Fairfield County.

Connecting to Wooster Mountain State Park and Ridgefield's Hemlock Hill/Pine Mountain/Lake Windwing Open Spaces, the area provides a large undeveloped habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Marble underlies portions of the park which creates buffered soils that support some rare plant species. In the spring, numerous vernal pools provide nursery for woodland amphibians.

It contains 5 miles of hiking trails which range from easy to difficult. If this isn't enough, it connects to the Ives Trail an interconnecting greenway from Ridgefield to Bethel, CT. Bennett's Pond is indeed a town and state treasure.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The DC Women's Hiking Group will start up hiking this week on Tues., Sept. 7th at Bennetts Pond.
We will meet in the parking lot at 9:30am.