One minute we’re stepping over logs and calling to the dogs not to sniff the mysterious pile just off the trail, and the next thing we know Alpine Florist is walking at light speed toward the the end of the trail mumbling between laughs about needing stuffed cabbage and pumpkin pie NOW!
That’s what you get when you mix a pregnant hot mama and a long overdue day in the woods. Trials, triumph and a whole lot of silly for 5 miles on the Nehantic Trail in Griswold, CT.
After meeting with Mustache Mama at the parking lot by Hopeville Pond, the three of us commenced a short road walk to the western terminus of the Nehantic Trail. We hurried to take a trailhead photo, wrangling our overly excited trail dogs, Musket and First Responder. The trail ascended along a small ridge, in and out of a thick pine forest that had shielded the last of the frozen snow. Shadows and a chilly wind haunted this section of trail. We soon passed out of it onto a gentle slope with small streams crossing from our right to left that now hold the remnants of what used to power an old mill.
As we ascended out of this memory-filled section Alpine Florist, our beautiful pregnant Hot Mama, had to stop and catch her breath. I could feel her frustration as she lamented the energy her baby took from her and told us how much she didn’t want her second pregnancy to take away the hiking she loved so much. We rested and laughed about the discomfort of having another life occupy your body, all of us having gone through this before. Ready to continue, Alpine Florist waved me ahead in between giggles. Her determination showed as we continued to talk and take on a muddy ascent, which on the way back prompted a particularly R-Rated conversation about zipping sleeping bags together and the pleasures of stepping over large logs – don’t ask, it’s not repeatable.
After crossing a couple of roads we came to an airy section of pine forest that took my breath away. Alpine Florist had caught her stride and daydreamed of going further than the five mile out-and-back we had planned. Picking up our pace we were soon hungry enough to stop for an early lunch. We ate under a tree you would only have thought to find in a fairy tale. Dainty, translucent white leaves hung aglow from every inch of the tree under the bluest sky. Pepperoni, oranges and protein bars were shared as the dogs ate treats when they didn’t beg. Pepperoni is not easy to resist for dogs and hikers alike.
We huffed up a short, but not easy, ascent and continued on an immense switchback to hike on the other side of a rocky outcrop near our lunch spot. We walked past beautiful grey and moss colored rocks as the dogs ran back and forth by us enjoying the short, flat stretch.
Soon we came upon the dirt road that signalled our turn-around time. We rested on some rocks and reminisced about how the last time we were here, we had hiked the wrong trail.
Feeling totally revitalized, Alpine Florist took the lead on the way back and I got some great shots of her and Mustache Mama working it down the trail. We retraced our steps and appreciated everything from the other direction. Musket, our trail puppy, was really getting the hang of being out there with us. Alpine Florist’s shins were glad he decided not to run back and forth at top speed. We continued quite happily until we noticed what sounded like geese chattering on a pond.
Since it had been winter for so long, we stopped to listen to this vaguely familiar sign of life. As we stared out into the small marsh a hundred feet off the trail we realized there were no geese. It was frogs, released from their winter slumber and happily taking back their melted home. We even noticed a turtle sunning himself in the warm mud. Once we noticed there were modest buds on the larger trees, we could really believe spring was on it’s way.
Just as we were getting near to the end, and were taking one of many mama potty breaks, Mustache Mama got a call. Now, discussing food near ravenous hikers can be dangerous. When apple pie and ice cream were mentioned Alpine Florist just lost it. We were all hungry for a hearty dinner and dessert, but Alpine Florist knew exactly what she wanted…stuffed cabbage and pumpkin pie, yum!
So off she went, leaving us laughing in the dust as we struggled to keep up. We put the dogs on leash and finished the road walk back to our cars. And last I heard she did get her stomach’s desire, or maybe it was really Baby D’s.
Spring is about rebirth and awakening. There are few things more amazing than bringing a new person into being. Congrats Alpine Florist, our beautiful Hot Mama, on the new hiker-mini you are so lovingly bring to life. We are all looking forward to meeting the little one. <3 Znara