Virgil's Wave  LbNA # 11527 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateOct 10 2004
CountyNew London
LocationSalem, CT
Found By G13
Last Found Feb 21 2008
Hike Distance?

Virgil’s Wave Letterbox:

This box is dedicated to the memory of the great Roman Poet Publius Vergilius Maro, commonly known today as Virgil

Virgil (70-19 B.C.) is often regarded as the greatest of the Roman poets. His epic poem, the Aeneid, has been of continuing importance to Western literature. Although it was commissioned by the emperor Augustus, the poem is more than early imperial propaganda. It proclaims the divine mission of Aeneas to found Rome and the divine injunction of the Romans to unite the world under a noble emperor such as Augustus.

Products of the chaos of the Roman civil war years, Virgil's works show a longing for a more peaceful ordering of society. His two major works, the Eclogues and the Aeneid, emphasize different aspects of this longing. The Eclogues, written first, is a collection of escapist poems that dwell on the ideal nature of a peaceful, rural life. The Aeneid, a more complete consideration of the new world Virgil desired, considers the political form under which this new order will come. Virgil's importance to world literature is difficult to underestimate. Later poets and writers have venerated and sought to imitate him. Among his more famous admirers were Dante (1265-1321) and Milton (1608-1674), who composed epic poems on his model.

On its own merits, the Aeneid is a masterpiece of epic poetry and the Latin language, and it has been used as a textbook for the study of Latin almost from its first publication. In addition, the Aeneid had an impact on Christian thought during the Middle Ages. Virgil was widely believed in medieval times (through allegorical interpretations) to have prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ to the Roman world and therefore lent support to the view of the Holy Roman Empire as the protector and champion of Christianity.

The Wave
By Virgil

As when far off in the middle of the ocean
A breast-shaped curve of wave begins to whiten
And rise above the surface, then rolling on
Gathers and gathers until it reaches land
Huge as a mountain and crashes among the rocks
With a prodigious roar, and what was deep
Comes churning up from the bottom in mighty swirls
Of sunken sand and living things and water-

So in the springtime every race of people
And all the creatures on earth or in the water,
Wild animals and flocks and all the birds
In all their painted colors, all rush to charge
Into the fire that burns them: love moves them all.

Location details:

Located in Hopemead State Park on Gardner Lake. Some information about the locale:

Gardner Lake is located in the towns of Salem, Montville, and Bozrah in New London County, approximately 6 miles southwest of the city of Norwich.

The lake is natural in origin, but a dam at its outlet has increased its area and depth. The normal elevation of the lake is 382 feet above sea level. The surface area of the lake is 487 acres with a maximum depth of 42 feet.

Gardner Lake receives water from several intermittent streams and brooks including Whittle and Sucker Brooks. Drainage from the lake is to the north into Gardner Brook, which flows into the Yantic River.

The lake has a watershed of 3,537 acres. The watershed is primarily wooded or wetland with some agriculture and urban development. A large wetland is located along the northern shore and remains undeveloped.

Hopemead State Park, located along the northeast shore, is the only other large undeveloped tract of shoreline on the lake. The remainder of the shoreline is highly developed with private residences and campgrounds. The island, located in the southeast area of the lake, is the site of Minnie Island State Park. There are no facilities at either Hopemead or Minnie Island State Park.

Access to the lake is provided by a state owned boat launch located on the southern shore of the lake. The launch can be reached from Norwich by taking Route 2 west to Route 354 south. The access road to the launch is off Route 354 just north of its intersection with Route 82. Facilities at the launch include a ramp with concrete pads, chemical toilets during boating season, and parking for approximately 50 cars with trailers.

An aquatic vegetation survey of Gardner Lake was conducted during July 1995. The survey found aquatic vegetation generally limited to the shallow coves located in the northern and southern areas of the lake. In these areas vegetation included white-water lily (Nymphaea odorata), yellow-pond lily (Nuphar sp.), watershield (Brasenia schreberi), pondweed (Potamogeton sp.), tapegrass (Vallisneria americana), and bladderwort (Utricularia spp.). Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), bur-reed (Sparganium sp.), cattail (Typha sp.), and arrowleaf (Sagittaria sp.) were found along the shoreline of Gardner Lake.

Regulations on Gardner Lake limit boat speeds to 6 miles per hour from sunset to 8:00 a.m. The fishing season closes the last day of February and reopens at 6:00 a.m. on the third Saturday in April.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection periodically stocks Gardner Lake with brown and rainbow trout. Since 1993, Gardner Lake has been stocked with 4 to 5 inch walleyes. Since that time the walleye population has been expanding and growth rates have been excellent. By the third year walleyes in the 15 to 18 inch range were present.

Other species that should provide good fishing are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead, white catfish, black crappie, and sunfish.

Please refer to the current Connecticut Angler’s Guide for specific fish consumption advisory information, as well as, the most recent rules and regulations governing sport fishing.


Directions: From the intersection of Connecticut route 82 and Connecticut Route 354, head East on RT. 82 for 1/2 mile and turn left onto Doyle Road. Turn left again after another 1/2 mile or so and turn left onto Cottage Lane. You will find the entrance to Hopemead State Park on your left in 0.7 miles. It is not well marked, just a small (3 car) parking area, and a green iron gate with a couple of picnic tables.

Total time in and out if that is all you do, 20 minutes. But do more. This is a lovely area on a quiet corner of Gardner Lake, much like you would find a hundred years ago. Take a fishing pole, go for dip, enjoy the view and walk around and explore a bit.

Follow the wide trail into the woods, generally heading west. It won’t be long before stone walls line the trail on either side, and the lake begins to shimmer through the trees. Shortly you will pass through two cedars, one on either side of the trail.

Continue to follow the main trail in lazy curves down towards the lake. You will soon see a fork, and the trail will pass through a break in a stone wall perpendicular to the trail just before the fork. Pass through this stone wall, and then bushwhack off-trail along the wall on a bearing (all bearings given will be magnetic) of 190. Pass by some pipes sticking up from the ground on your right, then come to a corner in the wall and pass over the wall in front of you.

Proceed along a bearing of 180 to a break in the next wall in front of you that has a fallen tree across the break. Look inside the end of the wall at the western end of this fallen log for your treasure!

Be sure to look for the Lake Shore letterbox, our Man-In-the-Moon letterbox and our Star-Donkey letterbox hidden in the same area.