This week I decided to explore Hidden Pond Park in Hauppaugue. The main portion of the park consists of ball fields, picnic areas, playgrounds and a rather large skating rink so I suppose you might question why I would decide to “hike” here. Well, if you walk past all this towards the west side of the park you will find yourself on another portion of the Greenbelt Trail. The Greenbelt trail is a system of trails that runs the width of Long Island from the Long Island Sound to the Great South Bay. So far in these posts I have walked portions of this trail in Sunken Meadow and Lakeland County Park. Perhaps by the time I am done walking the parks in this area I will have covered most of the Greenbelt Trail.
I decided to head south on this trail and gradually made my way uphill. There was some erosion in areas which made my progress a little difficult as I had forgotten my trekking poles. Although Long Island is relatively flat there is a ridge that runs along the center of the island. This ridge is known as the Ronkonkoma moraine and contains some of the highest points of the island. This particular hill rises to about 180 feet. At the top of this hill, I paused and looked north towards the Long Island Sound. Although I could not see the Sound from this vantage point, the view was still worth admiring for a short while.
At this point I decided to head back down the hill towards the main area of the park. There were a few birds flitting about and I stood for a few moments to admire them. I was rewarded for my patience with a picture of this small brown wren. At least I believe I was able to identify this little one at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Once at the bottom of the hill, I continued north following the white blazes of the Greenbelt Trail. I was determined to locate the “hidden ponds” of Hidden Pond Park. Although hiking guidebooks on Long Island do indicate that these ponds can be dry most of the year, they are visible on a terrain view of Google Maps or MapQuest. These maps indicate two ponds within the confines of the park.
I eventually reached what appeared to be a wet swampy area but nothing much to get excited about. I found a side trail and decided to follow it for a short while and Eureka, there was my “hidden pond”. My trip had not been in vain. Looking across the pond, it seemed to me that there is now evidence that the trees are getting ready to display a new season of leaves. There seemed to be a hint of green and red in the treetops.
Making my way back to the parking field, the woods were filled with the songs of various birds most of which I could not identify. I did spy a woodpecker and had to endure the scolding of a jay that I had startled. At the second pond I paused to admire a cardinal for a little while.
All in all a rewarding 2 mile hike of about 1.5 hours.