Westmoor Park Trail  LbNA # 15135

OwnerThe Bird Stamper    
Placed DateMay 2 2005
CountyHartford
LocationWestmoor Park, West Hartford, CT
Boxes4
Found By The Bird Stamper
Last Found Dec 21 2015
StatusFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFO  
Hike Distance1 mi

Westmoor Park Trail

Location: Westmoor Park, West Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut

Letterboxes: 4

Planted: 05/02/2005 by Westmoor Park and Birdstamper
Stamps: Carved by the Backtrackers
Adopted: 3/27/2011 by the Bird Stamper
Raccoon box relocated 11/19/2012
Bluebird box retired / / 2014
Time: 1 hour
Length: 1 mile round trip, 50 foot climb

Difficulty:
Easy trail. Box 4 is handicapped accessible; other boxes can be reached from a wheel chair with some assistance. Box 4 is only accessible during office hours. Please note that the office building is open daily but only between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm and closed for some holidays.

Description:
Westmoor Park is a town owned park operated by the Leisure Services Department of the Town of West Hartford. It was donated to the town in 1973 from the estate of Charles and Leila Hunter to be used as a nature park. The park property consists of 162 acres of field, forest and wetlands, a demonstration farm, and a nature center building with educational displays. They are located at 119 Flagg Rd, West Hartford, CT.

Directions:
From I-84 take exit 41. Turn north (eastbound - left, westbound - right) onto South Main St. Continue for 3.6 miles to the intersection of Route 44 and North Main St, Bishop’s Corner. Turn left at the traffic light. At the next light, turn left and then make a quick right to get onto Flagg Road. Continue 1/2 mile on Flagg Road to the park entrance on the left.

The Clues:
From the parking lot, cross the lawn to the west, away from the barn and farm pasture. Enter the path to cross the meadow at the North West corner of the herb garden. You'll pass by the flag pole in the center of the field. This wildflower field was once a lawn, but beginning in the summer of 2000 the park staff began seeding and managing approximately 13 acres with the goal to return native grasses and wildflowers to the area. This improved habitat now supports a greater diversity of wildlife.

At the edge of the hill you will see a cabin. Mr. Hunter built this in the 1940's, as Mrs. Hunter would not allow him to smoke his pipe in the house. Bear right and follow the trail down the hill to the gravel path at post number 9. The numbered posts are part of a self guided nature trail. You can pick up a brochure for this trail from the office.

(For the wheel chair accessible path, leave the parking lot at the lower end and follow the gravel road/path. Follow it past the cabin and down the hill. Turn right at the trail junction at post number 2 and follow to post number 9. Now both paths have joined at the same location)

Follow the gravel trail into the woods. Ahead of you is a wooden bridge over the brook. Check out the beaver dam at the bridge. The beavers built it to make themselves a pond. It there they will feed and make their lodge for the winter. To the left before the bridge, is a bench. Sit and rest while you take in the stillness of the woods. Sight at a 150 degree bearing to an Oak tree just across the gravel path. Behind it is a hollow log. The Raccoon letterbox is inside. To continue on, follow the gravel path along the brook.

Follow the gravel path along side the brook. The brook widens out in a few places forming ponds for wildlife. You can often see Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Great Blue Herons here. On warm sunny days the Painted Turtles come out to sun themselves on rocks and logs. Where the gravel path turns left away from the pond and into the woods, there is a bench for sitting and observing. Across the pond is an area of wet meadow and marsh. This is a favorite place for Red-winged Blackbirds and other wetland wildlife.

Box retired. It is now a mouse nest. Don't stick your fingers in there. (As you sit on the bench, take notice of the bird house on an Eastern Hemlock just a short distance into the woods to the south, compass bearing 194 degrees. Inside you have found the Blue Bird letterbox.)

To continue on, follow the gravel trail east into the woods, away from the pond. At the trail intersection marked by post number 4 turn right. Go on the flat wood chipped path, not the one that goes uphill. On the right you will pass an open meadow in the woods. The original top soil from this spot was removed in the 1950's to construct the Bugbee flood control dike that can be seen a couple hundred yards off to the east, past the Maple swamp. At the south east corner of the meadow you will find a four-way trail intersection. Continue straight and up a small incline to the Loop Trail.

This raised area is an esker it was deposited here by a glacier some 15,000 years ago, forming a long low hill. Follow the trail along the high ground of the esker. As you walk along, take notice of a large three sister (triple trunked) Red Oak on your left. This tree has re-grown from stump sprouts, evidence of the forest cutting activity practiced in Connecticut some 100 years ago. Further along, near the end, the trail forks to form the "Loop". Bear left at the fork. You will see a 16 inch diameter tree to the left of the trail. It is the largest tree in the area, and has a sitting stump by it. Sit on the stump and take a compass reading of 115 degrees. About eight paces (one pace is two steps) away you will find a tree with a hollow in the base. Here is the Oak Leaf letterbox.

From here return to the gravel trail at post number 4 and turn right. Follow the gravel trail to the East back up the hill, past the cabin and to the dirt road back to the parking lot. Cross the parking lot and follow the sidewalk up to the main building marked "OFFICE". Once inside there are displays and information on the park's educational programs. Follow the hall to the left into the greenhouse. Under the plant bench to the left, behind the door, is a small shelf with the Orchid letterbox on it

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Westmoor Park. Please come again.

Special permission for this letterbox was granted by the manager of this preserve. Others wishing to plant here should contact me and I will find out if permission can be extended.