Heckscher State Park

Our HeckscherFeb16.1 first full day on Long Island was a bit blustery but we decided to spend some time in Connetquot State Park before our scheduled lunch date. When the gatekeeper at the tollbooth heard we were there for hiking we were a bit surprised to be turned away. Although there had been a wind advisory during the night it had not seemed that bad, but what was amusing was the way we were informed that the park was closed. I knew what the gatekeeper meant, but it did seem amusing that the park was closed because there were “sticks on the trails and it was dangerous”. Sticks!? Really? We have walked trails where we had to HeckscherFeb16.3 walk around or climb over trees that were down, so sticks didn’t seem to warrant closing a park.

Rather than debate the issue, we headed down the road towards Heckscher State Park. According to the NYS Parks website, Heckscher was bought by the State of New York using a donation by the affluent August Heckscher with strong opposition from wealthy local residents. It was one of Robert Moses’ most difficult fights to obtain land for public recreation on Long Island. So, thanks to Robert Moses we have this multi-use park right on the Great South Bay for all to enjoy.

Once HeckscherFeb16.2 we entered the park, we thought we would drive around the loop to Parking Field 7 or 8 and walk part of the Greenbelt Trail. Unfortunately, we soon learned that at least half of the parking fields were gated for the winter. After examining a park map, we settled on Parking Field 1 during our second time around, and decided to take a short walk to the Bay.

Out of the car at last, we walked across the picnic area towards the bike path that would lead us to the water. It wasn’t long before we discovered what appeared to be a hiking trail and decided to explore. On one side of the trail ran an inlet or canal, on the other a marshy woods. Along HeckscherFeb16.4 the way, we discovered some early signs of Spring denying the fact that it was still February.

We would have followed this trail a bit longer, but when we saw that the boards laid down to help the traveler across the boggy areas were submerged, we opted to return to the bike path and continue on to the Bay. As we crossed the park loop towards a parking field that was closer to the water, the wind picked up quite a bit. In fact, as we got closer to the Bay my husband had to run after his hat once or twice.

Soon we were standing on the beach taking in the wind, the waves, and the gulls. In the distance, I could make out the Robert Moses Causeway barely visible in the grayness of the day. We were running out of time and had to turn back, but the brief respite outdoors had left us invigorated for the day ahead.

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