Highlawn Forest - Getting to Know Highlawn Letterbox  LbNA # 71286

OwnerCT Forest & Park Assoc    
Placed DateApr 24 2017
Locationhighlawn forest, Middlefield, CT
Found By Hez, Grumpy and Mona
Last Found Aug 12 2017
Hike Distance2-3 mi
Last EditedAug 9 2017

Welcome to Highlawn Forest!

There are 3 letterboxes for you to find as you explore our trails and get to know our forest. We hope you find all 3 and have a wonderful outdoor experience!

*NOTE: Mileage is continuous starting from the second kiosk.

#1 Camille’s Way
Starting at the parking lot, you will see a large kiosk near a tool shed. The blue trail is straight ahead between them. Follow the blue trail to the second kiosk to see detailed maps.
Follow the blue trail. Be sure to check out the observation platform to see what is going on there. In spring and early summer it has a great vernal pool with frogs and salamanders!
After about ¼ mile explore the old tree stump in a clump of beech trees. You can tell the trees are beeches by the smooth gray bark, and the trunks of larger beeches look like elephant’s legs. If it is fall, winter, or early spring, the dried leaves will still be fluttering on the branches of the trees. Was anything growing or hiding in the old stump?
Continue on the blue trail. Just after the bend in the trail (about .4 miles from the start) there will be a large depression on the right. This is left from Highlawn Forest’s early days when the land was used for farming. What might have been here—water? A foundation for a building? It is a mystery… Be on the lookout for 2 more depressions as you continue on the blue trail. Are they the same or different? Why might they be here?
Continue on the blue trail until you get to the bench at the intersection with the blue-purple trail. (About 1 mile from the start) Sit on the bench and look around you. What clues are there that Highlawn was once farm land? If you guessed the stone walls, you would be right! The walls were built to divide pasture land from crop land and to keep the animals out of the crop fields.
Still sitting on the bench, look straight across the blue trail. Just to the right is a large coppiced chestnut oak tree (3 trunks). Look inside the base where the trunks are joined to find our first letterbox.

#2 Highlawn Pond
Now turn onto the blue-purple trail to get to the pond. At about 1.25 miles you will come to the intersection with the blue/orange trail. Cross over that trail and stay on the blue/purple trail.
Just before the bridge you will see what looks like a side trail on the left. Go down this mini trail 7-8 paces . On your right is a large twin-sisters black oak. The pond stamp is here.
Come back to the trail and cross the bridge to get to the pond. Enjoy the view! Are there toads, frogs or dragonflies nearby?
Continue past the pond until you reach the end of the blue/purple trail. This is now the blue trail. Turn right on the blue trail and cross the small bridge to enter the overgrown Christmas tree farm.

#3 Pine Plantation
This farm was started in the 1960’s and many people enjoyed getting trees here each holiday season. It is now left to grow into a forest. Look for white spruce, white pine, Norway spruce, and larch/tamarack cones on the trail. How tall do you think the trees are now? If you look closely, you can still see areas where the trees are in rows from the original plantings.
Can you find signs of red squirrel activity in the trees? (Hint: look for chewed up cones and scattered scales everywhere!)
At about mile 2, just as you come out of the pine plantation, be on the look-out for a stone wall next to a low stone foundation. A large tree has just fallen there. Go off the trail 7-8 paces to the stone on the far right of the wall. The Pine Plantation box is behind this stone.
Continue on the blue trail to get back to the CFPA parking lot. Total distance for this letterbox loop is about 2.5 miles.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Highlawn Forest and will visit us again!
Here are some other facts that might interest you:

• The Camp family has owned this property since before 1900.
• The land has been used for agriculture, Christmas tree farming, sustainable tree harvesting for forest management, environmental study by universities, and environmental education for the public.
• The Camp family has granted a conservation easement of over 280 acres of this forest to Connecticut Forest and Park Association. This means that CFPA will work to protect this land for the future.