Darling Road Preserve
142.5 acres in Salem, CT
Parking: Small lot at 428 Darling Rd. and shoulder parking near 470 Darling Rd.
From the main trailhead at 428 the trail heads uphill through ferns and along stonewalls without much to note. However, as I approached the Orange/Goodwin/Red trail junction I saw a small animal slink over a low stonewall. Staying quiet I slipped to the other side of the stonewall and caught sight of a bobcat. I whistled to get its attention and we watched each other for awhile.
I skipped the 1.2 mile yellow trail and headed for the oak marked on the map. The narrow path to the old oak is clearly marked but overgrown. At the end of the trail is a massive oak at 79′ feet tall. A small ladder at the back allows you to climb to a small flat area among the tree limbs.
The trail heads downhill easily until it reaches the tri-town marker a small upright stone. Unlike the rest of the trail the marker is not marked so you can easily pass it. It is just a few steps from where the Goodwin Trail leaves the property.
I returned on the blue loop which was overgrown and essentially unused. Then I took the red trail back down to Darling Road and walked back to the main parking lot.
A couple months later in early spring 2020 I ran the length of the Richard Goodwin Trail passing through this property towards the end it was nice to pass through familiar territory and reminisce about my first bobcat
From the Salem Land Trust site:
Darling Road Preserve’s original 109 acres were purchased from the Litsky Family in two separate purchases… In August 2018 the SLT Board gratefully accepted The Nature Conservancy’s offer to transfer ownership of their 33.5-acre Winslow Preserve to the Salem Land Trust; this parcel is now part of the Darling Road Preserve.”
Connecticut’s Notable Trees – Salem Oak
Peter Marteka – Salem’s Darling Road Preserve Harks Back To Earlier Times (2015)