Twisted Spring on the Salmon River Trail

DSC04548Why you should hike this trail: The view of Salmon River is refreshing and each section of this trail has a unique character. If you are looking to photograph mushrooms then mid-summer seems the only time they are abundant here.

Mileage: Seven miles if you start at Salmon River, hike the leg in, go around the loop, and hike the leg back out to where you started. There is another parking area at Day Pond State Park, along the loop, to make a shorter hike of it. Check out the CT Walk Book East or Walk CT or Hike CT for more detailed information.

Location: The parking area to complete the seven mile hike is here in Colchester, CT

ComstockBridgeDescription: As we walked over the rebuilt Comstock Bridge across Salmon River, the smell of wood was overwhelming and comforting. Men and women fished below us as their kids scampered from rock to rock and waded in the cool water. The sun shifted in and out of the clouds. Spring did not seem to want to come but today it was finally warm.

Turning left, it felt like a wedding as Johnny Null and I walked through the tunnel of trees and followed the trail along the river. Shadows dappled the bright green growth that was just beginning to reach for the sun through last year’s dead leaves on the ground.  As we began the first climb of our seven mile loop I had to stop and remove my long sleeve shirt. There was no breeze penetrating the evergreens. The pine needles under our feet made the trail soft when we weren’t stepping carefully over large roots and navigating the dip on the left side where runoff from the hill escapes to the river that still flowed to our left.

DSC04518DSC04520When we reached the top of the hill, a straight-away and a small bump preceded the opening of the trees to a view of how far above the river we had climbed. I turned back to see Johnny smiling at me, expressing the kind of joy that we find together in these serene places.

Powerlines shown through the trees before we turned right to head up through my favorite section of this trail. It winds up onto another small hill with views of the distant trees through the spring buds to the right and left. Sun rays streaked through the cover and lit the mossy rocks where new growth was abundant and hopeful. Dipping down behind the hill we crossed a little wet section, ascended, crossed a lovely little stream, and then joined an old woods road with the remnants of a homestead and a more modern abandoned car. We took the .2 mile side trail here, on our hike back, to an open picnic spot next to waterfalls that should not be missed.

DSC04535DSC04543There weren’t many mushrooms but there was plenty of bright green moss and strange stick shapes to make me and my camera excited. Soon, we reached the start of the loop section of the trail marked with a wooden sign and a small map. We went to the right and after having passed miles of woods with sweet circles of lichen and huge fields of skunk cabbage we ended up back at the same wooden sign. The trillium were in bloom as well, three petaled maroon flowers cradled by three graceful green leaves.

Having completed the loop, we began to descend back into the wet part of the trail when my right foot rolled. Conveniently, my left foot was in the air behind me and unable to catch my weight as I would normally have done. I have flexible ankles and find that I roll them many times during a hike, with no injury. This time was the exception though, with all my weight (training pack of 25lbs included) jamming hard on to my crooked right ankle. Johnny grabbed my waist to hold me up as I leaned on my hiking pole so that I wouldn’t crumble. “I don’t think I am waking out of here.” I said as I tried not to move. My ankle throbbed and screemed at me. Johnny helped me take off my pack and sit on a rock as I tried to relax.

Ten minutes later I was able to limp out and I thought my ankle might be ok. We stopped for a snack by the waterfalls and gently plodded back to the car. So long as I was gentle, my ankle carried me. It swelled around the injury to varying degrees for the next two weeks as I hobbled around with an ace bandage and an icepack.

DSC03146 (1)I am glad to say that the swelling has since gone down almost completely and my hope of summer hiking is not dashed. I am slowly working back but feeling good. No doctors, no physical therapy, just TLC. As much as I can manage anyway, since my Dad broke his foot and is unable to do much work on his ranch. My mom and I are the back-up team so we’ve had quite a bit work to do, from putting up fences to caring for the animals. My ankle pales in comparison to a broken foot so I say to myself, “Suck it up! Active healing is good!” and I love the ranch, which makes everything easier. A little pain can be conquered and almost any mild injury will heal with time and care. I only hope that I can recover my balance to prevent another mishap. My body has changed for the better this year but it is very new and I must get to know how it works. I am no longer a lithe dancer and that is an exciting change that I look forward to exploring. Happy Hiking! -Znara


This is Ceramic Parchment Fungus


Trailhead selfie of Johnny Null and myself


The sign at the start of the loop section of the trail


Fields of skunk cabbage by the river. Beyond them there is no growth in the underbrush.


Trillium love the shade.


Waterfalls down the .2 mile side trail. Don’t miss this spot for a break.


2 thoughts on “Twisted Spring on the Salmon River Trail

  1. Mark Cashman

    It goes to show that injury doesn’t just come from big scary mountain hikes – it can lurch into your life anywhere (says the guy who broke his foot doing a normal thing in a stupid way).

    I love the ceramic parchment fungus – very rarely seen, well photographed. And one of those trail sections (next to the last image) reminds me so much of a trail at the top of Owl’s Head in New Hampshire.

    Lots of great pictures showing how nice any trail can be when seen through the right eyes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *