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Two hikes, two glacial features, in Ledyard

Published June 27. 2011 4:00AM   Updated July 07. 2011 10:26AM

The Day's hiking series continues with two hikes in Ledyard. Each hike demonstrates the massive changes brought about by glacial melting in Connecticut hundreds of years ago. Rock formations and impressive boulders greet hikers to Ledyard Glacial Park; at Kettlehole Trail, check out the opposite effect of glacial melt: a huge left-over depression in the terrain. At Kettlehole, the depression never filled in.

Ready to rock, so to speak? Here's the scoop on where to start and how to prepare:

Ledyard Glacial Park in Ledyard

Directions from 1-95: Take I-95 to exit 88. Go north on Route 117 for 3.8 miles. Turn left on Sandy Hollow Road and go 2.2 miles. Turn left on Whalehead Road and go 0.4 miles. A dirt parking lot is located just off the road to the right.

Description: A short loop trail winds through stunning rock formations created 13,000 years ago by a melting glacier. You will walk past (and sometimes climb over) boulders ranging in size from beach balls to buses. The main loop trail of about 3/4 mile rises up about 150 feet before dropping down into a ravine through a field of boulders. An alternate loop of similar length skirts the edge of the boulder moraine.

Regulations: None posted.

Amenities: Benches overlooking the boulders.

Natural features: The boulder field is part of an end moraine: a rocky belt stretching for several miles across the town. The moraine was formed when the edge of a melting glacier stopped for a period of time, depositing a pile of rocky debris in one location.

Fees/things to note: Free. The trail can be hard to follow. Pay attention to blue blazes on trees and rocks. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, as the trail through the boulder field requires climbing over and around boulders that are 3-4 feet tall.

Owner: Town of Ledyard

More information: http://www.ledyardrec.org

Kettlehole Trail in Ledyard

Directions from 1-95: Take I-95 to exit 88. Go north on Route 117 for 3.8 miles. Turn left on Sandy Hollow Road and go 2.2 miles. Turn left on Whalehead Road and go 0.6 miles. Turn right on Avery Hill Road Extension and go 0.4 miles, dirt parking area is on the right.

Description: A short, flat 1/4-mile trail skirts the lip of a glacial depression called a kettlehole. A short spur trail descends into the middle of the kettlehole.

Regulations: None posted.

Amenities: None.

Natural features: A kettlehole is created when a receding glacier leaves behind a large chunk of ice. The ice then melts, leaving a depression in the ground. Kettleholes commonly became bogs or ponds, but this location is an rare example of a dry kettlehole.

Fees/things to note: Free.

Owner: Town of Ledyard

More information: www.ledyardrec.org

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