audubon-trail1-300x200I’ve hit that point in winter when I can’t wait for spring so my family can start to do spend more time outdoors. Now that March is nearing, and as temps on the east coast start to rise above freezing, I look for ways to stay fit and healthy with my kids so we’re ready when the warm up begins.

One of my favorite transitional activities is hiking, and a favorite spot to get back into distance walking is the Audubon Society. Today, with a forecast and temps reaching a balmy 40 degrees, we packed a few bottles of water, some snacks, and hit the trails at the Roy and Margot Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield, Connecticut. 

I spent many weekends of my childhood hiking these trails with my dad, and some thirty or so years later I can still maneuver my way without a map. What’s great about the sanctuary is that the trails are fairly flat and easy to walk.  Wooden paths and bridges cross swampier areas, so footing is secure. Even in winter the scenery is pleasant. Traditional New England stone walls can be found throughout the property. Several ponds, though frozen, sparkled in the sunshine. Babbling brooks were flowing freely, thanks to the rain and snow we’ve had during the last year.

The sanctuary covers 152 acres and there are more than six miles of trails. If you’re walking with younger children, an easy loop is to take the trail into Farm Pond and then follow Streamside Trail to Azalea Trail, then a right onto Old Fram Trail, which will take you by the Garden Marsh and back to the entrance. Children who’ve past the toddler years will enjoy walking a bit further. Chipmunk Run is a nice trail that takes you along a stream and connects back to Old Farm Trail. My children, 8 and 10, joined me in walking the perimeter of the sanctuary.

We opted to continue off Chipmunk Run to Dirty Swamp Trail onto Country Lane. The walk took us about an hour and everyone was pleasantly tired, but not exhausted, when we finished. If you’re looking for some handsomely crafted bird houses or bird feeders, the gift shop had a wide selection in many styles. They looked resistant to even the most determined squirrels!

I was really happy to get the kids out and walking, taking in the fresh air and exercise, before they head back to school next week. Before you know it we’ll be ready for a return visit to walk along the singing and fragrance walk. I had to smile when I realized it will only be a short time until the flowers will be in bloom and we’ll have a totally different experience hiking the trails of the Audubon.