Bluff Point State Park, Connecticut
Bluff Point is my favorite place in Connecticut. Only a 25 minute drive from where I lived in Rhode Island, Bluff Point was a haven and my go-to spot for a hike; when I worked grave shift right after college I used to come out here on my days off for sunrise hikes, enjoying the solitude and quiet of the penninsula in the early morning. Bluff Point is a perfect combination of forest and ocean and I love feeling like I’m hiking up a mountain and going to the beach at the same time.
The main loop trail around the peninsula is about three miles, but can be extended by zigzagging up the bluff on the rarely-used side trails; it’s on these trails that you can feel completely alone and isolated, hearing nothing but the birds and the occasional plane. I always hike the loop clockwise, going up the bluff under the tree cover and away from many of the people who just walk the shore side. Even though I ventured on a few side trails the day of my hike I made sure to rejoin the main loop trail before it reaches the end of the bluff so I could experience the sudden feeling of emerging from the shaded forest onto the open bluff. It was just as breath-taking as always. I have been blessed during my visit to Connecticut and Rhode Island with uncharacteristically blue skies and clear waters and I am especially thankful that the day of my hike to Bluff Point was so perfect.
After crossing the end of the bluff I detoured onto the crescent-shaped beach before heading back along the shore of the Poquonnock River. This side of the bluff cuts through marsh and is exposed to the sun, which makes it feel completely different from the other side. Along this stretch you get almost uninterrupted views of the river and ample access to the beach where people frequently wade in the shallows for shellfish or to let their dogs play. I, of course, opted to take underwater pictures.
My day hiking Bluff Point was one of my favorite days here. It was a rejuvenating experience since it was not just another place for me but rather a place that holds memories of the start of my adult life when I first moved here after college over eleven years ago: It reminds me the beginning of the normal, conventional chapter in my life that has so recently closed. Being in Rhode Island/Connecticut again after more than a year – in addition to recently visiting the county in New York where I grew up – has caused me to reflect a bit and allowed me a little perspective on my past life now that I’ve had some literal, physical distance. I still recognize the landscapes and the people in these familiar places where I’ve spent most of my life, but everything seems a little different now, and certainly very far removed from my reality, yet somehow clearer as though I can actually see more of what’s always been. It occurred to me that my day at Bluff Point was actually a metaphor for this awareness too because everything appeared slightly different in the overgrowth of summer; at the same time I recognized the landmarks and sections of the trail so familiar to me, I was also constantly seeing what’s always been there in a different light.
But so, even as I’ve been looking back to my past I am much more often living in the present, knowing that continuing to do what I’ve been doing – traveling, experiencing, living – is exactly what I should be doing.