The Back Door To Dunhamtown LbNA # 9003
|Placed Date||Jul 4 2004|
Notice these clues were no longer online and nobody has been to the box in a year and a half. So we decided to put this great hike online. I believe the box was not transfered over to the new site.
The Back Door to Dunhamtown
Mansfield City Road section of Mansfield. Tolland county
Planted: July , 2002 on a warm summer day by Friends of Mansfield Parks, with help from FMH and the East of River hikers of the CT AMC
Rate; moderate, some hills, trail is new, and still a little rough. Carry water, allow an hour.
Mansfield, in its 300th year, is blessed with an active open-space program and many miles of trails. Dunhamtown was settled by the Dunham family many years ago; the space is the property of the town, and has recently been expanded. There are three entrances, from Dunham Pond road, Maple Road and now from Mansfield City road. (Anyone expecting a center of population at the "city" will be surprised to see just a crossroads!)
Take route 32 south from the intersection of route 275 in Mansfield, at 0.7 mile take a sharp left onto Mansfield City road (it's a steep climb!). In 1.3 miles, turn left onto White Oak Road, then another left in 0.2 miles into a grassy open space. No sign yet, but it will be the main entrance to Dunhamtown Forest. Now, it's the "back door". You will feel like an explorer!
Out of your car, pass through 3 sentinels on an old farm road (today very overgrown with weeds and thimbleberries). Pass the pile of trash--maybe it will be gone by now--look for a SIGN, "To Dunhamtown" and a white splash of paint on a tree to your right. You will be entering the woods on a long ago farm road.
Follow up hill, after it levels off see a face on the tree--two white eyes and a nose. Keep to the right --wonder why the trail to the left is blocked off? Who knows, but it goes nowhere--another face appears, with one red eye!. Stick with the white. The red and white blazes make an alternate pathway that rejoins the main trail..
Those faces keep appearing--this time keep going straight ahead. The old road seems to be disappearing, it's now a path through ferns. The last time I came this way there was a roaring brook at the bottom of the hill; today it's just a wet spot with a few puddles, many mosquitoes. Have to hurry past!
Some modern day woods people made this stone bridge, and the path that we are now following. Say a silent "thank you".
Up and up we go, around curves, past larger trees. Those ghostly white things popping up along the trail are Indian pipes, and the ground is drier underfoot.
Take a giant step past a large log to the left, near some ledges. This might be a good hiding place, but maybe not. Up some more, walk between two big rocks--maybe ledge outcroppings. Aha! --This is a good spot to explore for treasure. Look around the nooks and crannies, sign in, hide it again and go on your way And we're nearly at the top of the hill.
We could just turn around and go back, but we've done a lot of work, let's explore the top of the hill.
Another face--the well-trodden trail here invites you to go either way. Today let's go right, and follow the path. It goes along the side of a clearing, and crosses it, then turns back along the other side of the clearing. This is a pipeline, and gets pretty heavy with weeds and briars. We're lucky, enough walkers have been here to make a narrow path. Follow this, still following the white blazes, until you come to another face, turn left here, and now the blazes are white with a red bar on the top. Keep going, cross that pipeline again, into the woods, then left at the next face. The blazes are again white. This follows an old stone wall, signs again of the farmers who once lived here; after several turns, be careful to watch for the turn where you came up. There is a sign on a white oak three, "TO WHITE OAAK ROAD" Now you go back down the same way you came up. Follow the white trail straight back to your car.
It took me about an hour to do this, moving at an amble. Small legs will take longer.
Notes to the real explorer:
Two cars make a through trip a good idea--leave one at the end of Dunham Road (see "The Good Earth" box), drive to White Oak, and do two boxes in one day! In that case, when you get to the intersection with the red trail, continue on the white until you come to the cellar hole, and find Good Earth. Then out to Dunham road, and collect the other car. Needless to say, this takes two cars, two drivers!
Maps of the park can be obtained at the town of Mansfield's Park and Rec. Department
Isn't this a great place?