Since I am always looking for a new place to hike, I checked the Suffolk Country website this past week and found a nature preserve not far from where we needed to run some errands. Sans Souci Nature Preserve in Bayport (or Sayville depending upon which website you consult) is a small preserve not far from a major highway. The closeness of this highway was the down side of our walk since during the first part of our hike we were never far from the roar of traffic speeding down the road. Having said that, the preserve itself was lovely.
On entering the preserve, a yellow marked trail serves as a connector from the parking lot to the two trails within the park. We opted to take the white trail which loops around the northern section through a hard wood forest. Along the way we found blueberry bushes in flower and some rather tall fiddle-heads.
As we continued on, sections of the trail became wet and muddy. There was plenty of skunk cabbage populating the area. In a few areas, planks had been placed across the mud to ease the way of those traveling this section.
We finally came to a small stream, the rust colored water standing out against the stark trees. Once we crossed the water, we found a trail gnome hiding in the hollow of a tree. He didn’t make any demands so we were able to continue on our way in peace.
After we completed the white trail loop, we decided to continue on the orange trail. This trail is a straight trail of about 1 mile one way. As we walked south, the preserve narrowed for a short time and we could see houses to the west and the boundary of the Girl Scout camp, Camp Edey to the east. Just south of the camp we could see Sans Souci Lake, which according to the county government site was broken into a series of lakes in the mid 1800s by dams erected to create a cranberry farm.
The trail continued past a fence marked with the orange trail blaze but the trail seemed to dead end shortly after that. We retraced our steps back to the yellow connector trail. Once again, I had overestimated the time and distance I would be comfortable walking, so I had some difficulty completing the trail. It was amazing how tree roots not only grew taller but stretched further out into the trail in order to trip me as my fatigue level increased.
Although my leg was pretty sore by the end of this walk, I was happy that I had completed a 4 mile hike in about 2 hours.