A Walk in Guilford’s Westwoods

In early September, Jean and I visited Guilford, Connecticut for our 50th high school reunion. It was a brief, whirlwind trip, nostalgic as we visited old haunts and renewed friendships with our classmates of so long ago. We attended reunion mixers, dinners and get-togethers, sandwiching these reunion activities with long overdue visits to each of our sisters, who live nearby. We wished that we had had more time on this trip but, sadly, there weren’t enough hours to do everything or see everyone we had hoped to. The next time we go back east we’ll try to allow more time to visit with those we love.

A highlight of our visit was a walk we had in the nearby Westwoods just before we returned to California. The Westwoods are a natural area preserved by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust. Our walk took place the day after summer squalls had cleansed the previously hot and humid air, creating an invigorating autumnal atmosphere. The Westwoods trail winds through a hardwood forest, past ancient granite escarpments. Even though I had grown up just a mile from this trail, I had never adequately explored its charms.

Marty Knapp: WordPress Blog Images &emdash; West Lake Woods 905

The autumnal scents of drying leaves and mossy rocks transported me back to happy childhood memories of walking in the woods just yards from my childhood home. I deliberately scuffed the forest floor with my feet to release the rich fragrance of decaying leaf and branch. As we walked, I was flooded with memories of my youth— transported to endless days of happiness I had spent scurrying about the nearby woods just beyond the back yard of my childhood home.

We walked through the hardwood forest as we headed toward a body of water called Lost Lake. Lost Lake is an inland estuary fed by creeks to the north and seasoned by the salty tidal action from nearby marshes that border Long Island Sound.

Marty Knapp: WordPress Blog Images &emdash; West Lake Woods 906

After ambling along the marked trail, we veered off, taking an unmarked trail to the west. In in a couple of minutes we crested the gentle hill that separated us from the broad wetlands. We stopped in our tracks, stunned by the sudden beauty of this peaceful lake. I made this photograph of Jean as she stood in reverie on the granite shelf bordering Lost Lake. Having lived my entire childhood only a couple of miles from this place, I wondered how I had previously failed to discover this peaceful and sublime place.

Marty Knapp: WordPress Blog Images &emdash; Jean at Lost Lake, Westwoods, Guilford

On our way back to the car, I stopped to make this photograph of ferns lit by the late afternoon sun.

Marty Knapp: WordPress Blog Images &emdash; Ferns, Westwoods, Guilford

21 comments on “A Walk in Guilford’s Westwoods

  1. Hello Marty and Jean,
    It’s a cold and dark winter here on the East Coast and looking through this series of pictures from Guilford provided a bright spot of cheer on a rainy day. I wish you lived closer so I could just pop in and visit or invite you over for tea and home made cake. It’s a pleasure to see the beauty that you bring into the world with your photographs.
    Best to you both.

  2. Hi Marty and Jean,
    It’s cold and dark here on the East Coast and looking through this photo series of Guilford provided a bright spot of cheer on a rainy day. I Wish you lived closer and I could just pop in to visit. I am so happy when I see the beauty you are bringing into the world with your photograhy.
    Best to you both.
    Christina N.

  3. The picture of your wife at the lake is exquisite. What an enchanting sight. I am so enjoying your pictures and narratives.

    • Thank you. That scene took my breath away… made me feel little as I spent my childhood not far from that wooded lake.

  4. Great, Marty!
    Am on the Cape now, back to Cedarville then down to Marin with new edition of Robert Bly Point Reyes Poems book.
    Your photos are an inspiration and delight, as is the prose.

    • Michael,
      Great to hear from you and that you are getting my blog. I’m pleased that you are enjoying my efforts. Please come by and say hello when you get out to the Point again. The Cape is gorgeous. I got to get back there sometime!

  5. Jean looking back in the reflections of Lost Lake. This remarkable photograph reveals to the viewer a quiet glimpse of your shared past and of your journey from there to here.
    Thank you and Jean for sharing generously your good fortune, your talent and dedication, your wisdom and your experience.
    Dick Adams

  6. Thanks for he memory and beautiful pictures. I had forgotten about Westwoods but spent a time there before we moved west.

  7. Hi Marty,
    I truly enjoyed seeing and talking with you at our recent reunion as well as reading your narrative and viewing your photos. I, too have fond memories of exploring the woods and fields of Guilford. Where did those fifty years go!
    I would love to see more of your work.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Pat Stanish McDonald

    • Pat,
      Thanks for writing and letting me know we share a love for the natural beauty of Guilford’s woods and fields. What a great place it was for me to grow up there. I photograph the views close to my home in northern California. I hope you will go to the link I sent you and sign up for both my newsletter and my blog. More photos from me will be coming and you’ll be guaranteed to be alerted if you sign up for those posts.
      Best,
      Marty

  8. Living in Guilford all my life — I take for grant the beauty the town has to offer. The town has certainly changed in the last fifty years with farm land becoming the new housing developments with huge houses. I am not dealing well with the changes and appreciate the few natural areas left in town. Great pictures. Judy

    • Judy,
      As beautiful as Guilford is today, I lament the loss of some of those farms. I had mixed emotions when I visited earlier this month. I think I saw your old farm when I visited Ray that week. Still, it was good to walk in the Westwoods and remember feelings I had as child when I romped in the woods that began where my back yard ended in Leetes Island.
      My best wishes to you and family,
      Marty

  9. Thanks Marty for the beautiful pictures…your narrative took me back in time and made my homesickness more acute!
    cc

    • I hope there is a bit of sweetness in the homesickness that you’re feeling, Cheryl. Thanks for looking at my blog and letting me know you’re there! Best, Marty

  10. Fall is the perfect season in New England. Thanks for sharing your beautiful imagery. Scott & Megan

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