Nov 28 2015

Just a walk in the woods…


…That’s all I wanted yesterday.

No Black Friday shopping for me (well, except for one special item online at a killer discount!).   No way was I going to dive into the mob scene of post T-Day shopping.

But hey, Sleeping Giant State Park is quite near me, ready for hiking, strolling, and mulling over story ideas while getting much-needed fresh air and emotionally uplifting exposure to Nature.

Of course, Sleeping Giant is extremely popular, and could easily be as mobbed as the mall.   Even on an average weekend, good luck finding parking at the main entrance.

But — aha! I’m an old hand at this, and know all the less-popular,  and indeed nearly-secret alternate access points.   Plus: free parking.

You probably know where I’m going with this, though, right?

Right. Every single entrance was filled with people who had the exact same idea I did.  Except, they brought their families. Including grannies.  And babies.  Even their dogs!

I liked the dogs.  But I was not prepared to deal with actual humanity.   I was On Artistic Retreat.  I wanted to wander the woodlands, dreaming up plot points, imagining my characters roaming a similar landscape.    Instead: joggers, and guys with fishing poles, and bunches of really, really happy people, and I was quite glad they were happy, but dang!

Well. There were a few moments when no one was in sight, and I absolutely felt my spirits lift .  But then some perfectly nice people would come along, and I’d have to arrange my face into a socially acceptable expression.  (And for an explanation of that statement, check out this previous blog post on the subject.)

Still, it was good to get out into the open air, and stretch my legs.

Also: picturesque ruins.

People tend to forget that most of southern New England used to be farmland.  We see a forest, with no houses, and tend to assume it’s been that way since pre-colonial days.  Not so.

Someone used to live here. I wonder who?

Someone used to live here. I wonder who?

Wherever you wander in what looks like wilderness, you’re likely to stumble upon old stone walls, and old earth basements, and root cellars.  This one had an angle, so I assume it was part of a house at some point.

And then there are structures more recently abandoned:

Eerie ruins...

Eerie ruins…

This was apparently an old mill of some sort.   It’s concrete, so it can’t be all that old.


Had to wait for people to pass by, but some still got in the picture...

Had to wait for people to pass by, but some still got in the picture…

The arches make me think that water actually ran through this at some point, although the appropriately-named Mill Stream is about half a mile downhill from here.   But there’s a sort of dirt-filled run-off further down the hill.   So, I’m thinking that it was water-powered.


Happily, no one has covered it with graffitti.

Happily, no one has covered it with graffiti.

I’ll store up the spooky mill as locale for some future story.   Even if I only use the emotional feeling of the place… it’s all input, as we say.

(There was one entrance on the outskirts of the park that was completely free of any hikers… the one that’s located on a busy road with no shoulder, where the nearest safe and legal parking is over a mile from the trail-head.  That parking consisting, by the way,  of the actual parking lot of the condo where I live.  If you feel like taking a short hike, you wouldn’t even make it to the trail before having to turning back.)