Franklin Parker Trail

Franklin Parker Trail, Schiff Nature & McVickers Brook Preserves (4/26/2014)

We hiked in these two beautiful adjacent nature preserves nearly three years ago. At that time we hiked over 5 miles coverning about half of the trails. So today we decided to head back to hike more trails, in particular the entire Franklin Parker trail.

We parked at the nice new gravel lot on Pleasant Valley Road which has not only room for about six cars but two picnic benches. I don't know if it was the perfect weather (sunny, with a deep blue sky peppered with a few fluffy white clouds), the green explosions at the beginning of spring, or a combination of these and other reasons, but the first impression of the trail head was enchanting. Using this map we headed north into the McVickers Brook Preserve on the white-blazed Franklin Parker trail immediately crossing two streams lined with skunk cabbage, climbed into the woods, continued through woods and meadows, climbing, descending, crossing other trails until we finally reached (well west) the Green trail (it's tough to see on the map but it's just west of Red which it parallels). We took Green south to Yellow which we took east. We passed the "Historic Site" (as we did three years ago). The damage from Hurricane Sandy in this part is huge with blow-downs on both sides. We spoke to a gentlemen with two dogs who told us he (and about 10 others) spent every weekend for many months clearing the paths in these preserves after that hurricane.

After the house foundation ("Historic Site") we continued south on the gorgeous Orange trail, first visting the tranquil "North Conservation Pond" and the continuing along the beautiful skunk-cabbage lined stream until we got to the "South Conservation Pond" where we saw billions of young tadpoles swimming in huge groups, the water was black from them. We then continued to the white Franklin Parker trail, which we took back to the car. It was our intent to take the non-blazed path indicated on the map (which is west of the FP trail and which parallels it), but we couldn't find it. It's not an official trail and so is most likely not maintained. Sandy might have buried it.

Total distance hiked today was 4.2 miles in 2.5 hours.

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