Walk Extras

The annual Twain-Twichell walk had a couple of additions this year. The first was the addition of several pounds in my backpack in the form of extra water and food, a rain slicker, an umbrella, and a camera so I could take photos of North Methodist church. I got the photos, but the church has a modern-looking plastic banner across the front, and there were a collection of hearses and other long black cars in front. Also added to the collection, a bottle of ginger beer from Scott’s bakery. I love that it tastes like real ginger and is sweet but not overpowering.

The second was the addition of several miles. My friend Nancy wore a pedometer and ascertained that the walk is not eight miles as Steve advertises it, not the nine that a previous walker asserted, but almost twelve – 11.8 I believe was the distance agreed between Nancy and another pedometer wearer. However long we enjoyed the glorious spring flowers – lilacs, apple, some tulips still lingering. The only negatives were a considerable number of bumble bee carcasses, trash by the wayside along most of the route, and the huge stands of excessively healthy poison ivy.

We managed to dodge the worst of the rain and T-storms, though we spent a few extra minutes at Auer Farm’s 4-H pen visiting the goats, rabbits, lambs, chickens, cow, and one really noisy rooster, who was about seven hours late.

After the struggle up Talcott Mountain, which includes a portion of the Metacomet Trail, we encountered the third addition in the form of a greeting by Jay T. Willerup, co-president of the Friends of Heublein Tower who is working diligently to restore the tower to its past glory and to add some new facilities for weddings and so forth. Jay served us cookies and lemonade and iced tea and gave us a private tour in advance the Memorial Day opening of Gilbert F. Heublein’s “country retreat.”

We started on the first floor with the dining room with its magnificent fireplace, presided over by photos of the Heublein brothers. Then we visited the information center, which gives the complete history in text and photos of the tower and houses the chair in which Dwight Eisenhower sat when Prescott Bush asked the general to run for president.

Fortified with our snacks, we climbed the stairs to the ballroom, which has 360 degrees of views: Mount Tom in Massachusetts (and sometimes Monadnock in New Hampshire) to the north, Bradley International Airport to the northeast, the city of Hartford to the southeast, Sleeping Giant and Long Island Sound to the south, and to the west (sometimes) New York. The visibility on Saturday was good enough for us to get all but Monadnock and the last two.

The trip down the stairs was far less arduous than going up, and the weather held as we traipsed back down the Tower Trail, past Hang Glider Overlook, which I’ve never looked over as my palms start to sweat when I get close to a cliff edge. The skies opened up just as Nancy and I were scurrying to the car to make our way back home.

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