Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Suffolk County, NY

A freak snowstorm left snow covering most of the upstate parks, and I suspected that the scheduled hikes were all canceled. However, New York City itself had very little snow and Long Island was clear, so I decided to go on my own to this park in central Long Island.

I had not been able to learn much about it before visiting, other than it had at one time been a hunting and fishing club for wealthy people. Also, the Connetquot River is six miles long, and there were said to be trails on both sides of the river. I envisioned a scenic hike within frequent sight of the river. Unfortunately, the reality was quite different. I saw a pond, and also a canal, but I don’t recall seeing a river. If the trails ran on both sides of the river, they ran far enough away from it that one couldn’t see or hear the river.

Near the entrance is a large building. Originally Snedecor’s Tavern, it was established around 1820. Between 1866 and 1973, it served as the clubhouse of the South Side Sportsmen’s Club of Long Island.

Clubhouse, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Clubhouse

This is the main pond, with swans.

Main pond, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Main pond

I initially missed the trail markers, and began walking along West Club Road, a paved road that runs north.

West Club Road, Connetquot River State Park, NY

West Club Road

Rainbow Bridge crosses a manmade canal that was dug with hand tools about 100 years ago. It was designed to provide cool waters for the trout.

Rainbow Bridge, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Rainbow Bridge, over hand-dug canal

 

Canal, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Canal

Here’s a dragonfly resting on the ground. I don’t have a macro lens for my camera, and usually all my attempts at a macro shot end in failure. This is a very rare exception!

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

There were a lot of deer present. I first saw a doe in a field, and left the road to try to get a better shot of her. A groundsmen drove by and mentioned that there were usually some buck present in the area. Continuing on the road, I soon found this buck, and then I saw many other deer. In fact, whereas at the big parks it is rare for me to see deer, here they were as common as squirrels in some other parks.

Deer, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Deer

The road intersected the green trail, and I thought that I was continuing to the north. However, I found myself back at the buildings near the entrance, and realized that I must have turned the wrong way when I reached the green trail. Having only walked about 2.5 miles at that point, I now found the blue trail, an 8.4 mile loop, and decided to follow that. These trails were all on dirt roads. There were a few other hikers, but I saw more equestrians. The riders were all women, with the exception of one man riding alone.

Blue Trail, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Blue trail

Another deer:

Deer, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Deer

There were still a few Fall colors, but most are gone now:

Fall colors, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Fall colors

The ground was generally sandy, and in a few cases really looked like beach sand:

Sandy Terrain, Connetquot River State Park, NY

Sandy trail

Around the halfway point on the blue trail, I figured out how to take a shortcut and cut 1.2 miles from the loop. I did so. It really was monotonous. I’m used to hiking in parks that have scenic views, that have bare rock in places, or glacier boulders. Here it was just dirt roads, trees, and deer.

Connetquot River, NY

Connetquot River

So I hiked about 10.7 miles at the park, over the course of four hours, or a little more. While I was not impressed with the park, I was happy to get the exercise, and to mark the fourth Sunday in a row that I went hiking.

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