FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Norwalk River Valley Trail Demonstration Trail is finished. Come celebrate on Saturday, April 26, in Wilton..
There was an air of completion about the demo trail early on Good Friday. The “staging areas” at either end – previously rutted by machinery, and home to construction materials and sawn-up windthrow – now appeared pristine. Mobile Mini was on its way to take away their storage unit, and the last two pieces of construction machinery would leave later in the day too.
Before Alex of Timber & Stone, the Vermont company that designed and built the trail, left too, I took the chance to walk the trail with him. It runs 0.5 miles from near Wilton’s Orem’s Diner up to Raymond Lane, and will show residents of the five NRVT communities what a 38-mile, 10-foot-wide trail will feel like.
It really is all done – the top-dressing of the surface after its winter mauling; the culverts and the black locust boardwalk; the naturalization of the margins to make the trail look like a timeless feature of these woods. Alex said that Tuesday’s downpours had actually helped by testing the drainage and damping down the finished surface.
As if to mark the completion, spring was breaking out along the trail too – daffodils and squill in the leaf litter; skunk cabbage in the wetlands; an understory of barberry and blooming forsythia. A pity about the barberry, I thought; but Alex said it does at least provide a refuge for small creatures, perhaps from that hawk I saw here a few weeks back.
Now it’s time for the trail’s users to mark its completion too. There will be ribbon-cutting and family fun from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 on Saturday. Don’t miss the “Paws on Parade” dog walk at 10 a.m., the “Spuds on a Spoon” race at 11 a.m., and a GPS and low-tech treasure hunt throughout the morning. Don’t miss the prizes! For full details, visit the NRVT website.
Rob McWilliams is an avid hiker who lives in Fairfield County. His hiking blog is online.