LI Greenbelt Trail: Boys Hiking Weekend Pt. 2
I guess we were inspired from our 6 miles on the trails at Muttontown Preserve yesterday and instead of running this morning Brandon and I completed a 5.5 mile section of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail just South of the LIE. Brandon wrote yesterday’s post on his own and those are so much more interesting than mine, but he’s tired so we are sharing the responsibility tonight 🙂
We started off at Lakeland County Park and hiked through Connetquot River State Park Preserve ending at the South entrance in Oakdale. We have been to the Preserve several times in the past year – I’ve run the Blue Trail (well, most 6.5 of 8 miles, lots of soft sand that I’m not great running on), passed through the Preserve last Sunday running from Lakeland Park to the South trailhead of the LI Greenbelt in Heckscher Park. Also, we’ve gone to Frog Night at the preserve and held toads and frogs from the Main Pond. The kids have gone a few other times as well on the shorter trails; enjoying the horses and checking out the reptiles and amphibians in the main office.
This first photo below is from last week and already the colors have shifted to a less colorful shade. The light and dark green, yellow, brown and reds of the woodlands surrounded us and it was really a site to see! We didn’t see any deer today but lots and lots of horses.
From Brandon, 10: “We saw a lot of bird houses when we were walking through the trail. Right when we started the Greenbelt we saw 40 or so birds flying in circles low to the ground just in front of us! We then came to a pond with a bunch of ducks but also in the middle of the pond there was a bird that looked like an osprey but it was a lot skinnier and had a longer neck.
After the pond we reached a runner under the train tracks that was covered in graffiti. Dad had to duck down so he didn’t bang his head”.
I saw this same bird last week and stopped my run about 3 minutes in to watch it. So much for a personal best time! That’s impossible on the Greenbelt; there is so much to take your mid off a fast pace, including deer running in front of you and getting scared and prancing back where it came from, fall colors, lakes, streams, ponds….also tree roots and rocks to twist your ankles so I don’t go too fast on this trail.
Brandon: “We came to Veteran’s Highway and had to be very careful of cars when crossing it. We waited until there were no cars from either direction and then we ran across. Then we entered the Connetquot River State Park Preserve and for the first time we saw other people. We saw a lot of people running and some riding horses. The horses were usually white. In Lakeland Park the ground was dirt and also leaves, sticks but also some parts were paved paths. In Connetquot park a lot of the ground was covered in soft sand.
When we got to 5k distance we came up to Bunce’s Bridge. This is known as a place for fishing and there were lots of docks and benches. We took a quick break. We were looking at this metal box that tells the park workers how much the water raises and gets lower. We had to watch out so we didn’t step in horse poop a lot too!”
I kept telling Brandon that about 4 miles in we would reach the river and that the week before I really enjoyed running next to it, as well as stopping to take a few photos to bring home.
Brandon: “The river looked like it was almost black and it was so shiny that you could see your reflection. We climbed down to the river’s edge and listened to the water and looked for fish.”
We passed several large areas off to the side of the trail that led to the blue trail, the green trail, bridle paths….but just as many paths led to bird sanctuaries throughout the preserve.
Just before we reached the main front area of the preserve we saw a white horse and it’s rider headed West. Look really close below to see them.
We reached the Main Pond. This whole area used to be owned by a Sportsmen’s club for hunting. We were quiet not to wake the geese, ducks and swans on the docks and others were poking their head underwater for fish.
Brandon: “We went into the Main House to look at the different reptiles, insects and amphibians. They had a Dwarf Bearded Dragon. He would only move his head when you weren’t looking. But it looked like his eyes followed us everywhere we went. There was also an Albino Corn Snake but he was hiding under a bucket. We also saw an Asian Painted Turtle, Vietnamese Stick Insects and also two different kinds of frogs.”
Brandon: ‘Yesterday we hiked 6 miles at Muttontown Preserve. Today we hiked almost another 6. At Muttontown my favorite part was that they had so many trails and we had to try to find our way through. At Connetquot Park I liked that we went through 2 different parks and also that we had to cross over and under bridges and tunnels. If you decide to go hiking, make sure you bring water and something to eat. This time of year you should dress warmly with layers that you can take off. I hope you enjoy this park if you go there!
– Open Wednesdays – Sundays, year round. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
– Parking fee in effect 8am-4pm: $8, or free with the Empire Pass
– We encountered lots of ticks this summer. During the warm months consider wearing a hat while in the park and check yourself for ticks before you get back in your car. No ticks during our Autumn visits
- Lost and Found in Muttontown (1quest2thenext.com)
- Entenmann’s Great South Bay 5k (really 3.89 miles) (1quest2thenext.com)
- Long Island Greenbelt Trail: First Blaze (1quest2thenext.com)
- LI Greenbelt trail: Where am I? (1quest2thenext.com)