Connecticut is wearing me down after getting out of both New Jersey and New York in a short number of days. I'm not quitting, as long as my feet still work, but damn, it's never-ending. And yes, I realize there are more big states to come.
Additionally, there's always the reminder sloshing around in my head that so many people stepped up, pun intended, to help get me here, to reach my goal in supporting the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Freewalkers.
This past Monday, I headed back to Milford via an Uber. It's funny to see drivers' reactions when you get dropped off at random residential areas. My walk took me along the water's edge through Woodmont, where I was happy to have long sleeves on with the breeze coming off the water.
The greenway continued to the West Shore - yes, there's a west shore in the east coast state - with beaches and jetties, and benches to just sit and ponder.
Turning right into Bradley Point Park after Sea Bluff Beach takes you into an impressive Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which then continues onto the Beach Street Trail. There was a bit of somberness that overcame me, looking out at the water, thinking how close it was to the time of year we were out in our kayaks, how cold the water looked on this day, and how cold it was to be draped over the kayak that fateful day.
Beach Street eventually curved left past Morse Park to First Ave. From there, on Elm Street, I had to make a right turn over the bridge officially into New Haven. There was a good amount of construction coming off the bridge, and I didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling in this area.
I made it to the Sound School at City Point, but called Uber as there were sketchy characters near where I was supposed to catch the Harborside Trail. In hindsight, I might have been too much of a nervous Nelly, but why take chances?
My driver dropped me off at the New Haven Green, and I explored some of the greenway there before stopping at Prime 16 for a grilled three cheese and pesto sandwich and an Allagash White from Maine.
A quick trip back to my hotel and the day was complete.
My trip to Southington on Tuesday was my first day in awhile with the big pack. Thanks to Lisa's blog, I learned the term walking EDI, or every damn inch of the greenway. On this day I did not EDI.
I started just above New Haven, in Hamden, and walked the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. This is a beautiful stretch of greenway, a paved path through trees with streams. There are also a bevy of benches, which I utilized often. You see, the entire day was spent walking uphill.
I spoke with a woman named Donna as we waited to cross a street with traffic. She was collecting grape leaves to create some Mediterranean dishes. The conversation then turned to what I was doing. By chance, we just happened to be standing at a signpost with a greenway marking, I explained how it runs from Florida to Maine, and how I was traveling a part of it.
We parted ways, and I continued on, later meeting Pete and Clancy. Clancy is a Scottish Terrier who thinks he's Irish, Pete said, and the tartan jacket was adorbs.
Pete had stopped me, saying, "Are you Jenn?" It took me off guard, but it turned out he and Donna know each other, and they had run into each other after she and I met.
Pete is originally from the Kearny, NJ area, and we chatted about how things have changed in areas like Newark.
The day wore on, and I continued to trudge uphill, hoping and hoping... and hoping... that I would make it through Cheshire. And then my hostess for the night, Jen, texted at just the right time about where we could meet up. I mistakenly told her a cross-street from which you couldn't exit the trail, and I had to keep emotions in check, from sheer exhaustion to the letdown of thinking I was done.
But she was patient and bubbly when she met me on Canal Street, and then she rolled me into her car.
She took me to her lovely home in Southington, where I met her sons, had spaghetti with meatballs... and the Italian bread for dessert. (It was all delicious, Jen!)
The day, on the whole, was amazing. I saw two beavers, a turtle laying eggs, a deer, and to end the night, the ferocious Mellie.
As I sit here writing on this Wednesday, I do not regret my last-minute decision to take a rest day. After all, this is my trip, right? Jen and I got to spend part of the day together, enjoying a delicious lunch, and getting to know each other. I can see why she and Liz are friends, and I'm thankful that I had such a fun hostess.
Don't judge - I cheated a little, and allowed Jen to drive me to Avon, tomorrow's starting point. My body hurt after a tough day yesterday. But I don't regret it a bit because I made a new friend.
I guess you could say my journey doesn't always happen on the trail!