The TASC List: Wilton walks

Our New Year’s resolutions have been alive now for about five days. Or at least some of them have. A most popular promise to oneself and the one that likely expires earliest in the game is the resolve to get fit, or stay fit, and thus pursue a healthier lifestyle.

And among the paths to fitness is an all-around favorite that is inexpensive, conveniently available, usually close at hand, and able to be performed in almost any kind of clothing. That’s plain old walking. You won’t normally collapse under the effort, acquire shin splints, or sweat profusely. But you will get a useful workout that helps the heart, lungs, leg muscles, balance, coordination, and circulation. It also allows for focusing the mind, and breathing higher-quality outside air.

Here in Wilton, we are fortunate to have many venues to follow in our pursuit, including a town center and town forest. But some favorite spots include three that are conveniently located in the north, center, and south of Wilton. They actually appear on the map to be arranged along the very spine of this place in an anatomy that places them in an almost straight line and equidistant along that axis.

They are Weir Farm and Weir Preserve, the high school football stadium, and the Norwalk River Valley Trail. Their very similar attributes are removal from traffic and noise, seasonal scenery that dazzles at times, non-strenuous but challenging conditions if you elect a higher gear, convenient parking close at hand, relatively unrestricted access, and virtually no chance of getting lost or mauled by wildlife. No one in town is more than 10 minutes away from one of these places.     

For those who might want to relax with a warm or cold beverage after the walk, there are also three spots just minutes away to refuel and contemplate the effort and overall benefits of exercising at the place and pace of one’s own choice. They are Tusk & Cup at the intersection of 102 and 7; the Coffee Barn immediately across from the high school; and Orem’s Diner next to the parking lot off Wolfpit Road. Here are some details on the three walking sites.

The Weir tract has a complete set of well-marked trails of varying difficulty across some very gently rolling terrain in a park-like setting that also includes granite outcroppings to traverse, beautiful stone walls to accompany the trip, and a terminus at the historic farmhouse and buildings at its northernmost point. Light hiking footwear is recommended.

The high school track encloses a high-tech turf field recently installed. Natural fibers and materials have replaced the former rubber infill and provide a pleasant-feeling workout base for sprints, floor exercises, and cushioned mobility that is particularly helpful to aging knees and ankles. Vertical exercise for hips and thighs can be experienced by running the stairs on the west stands, about three dozen steps up and down, with handrail beside. There is also a small exercise area in the southwest corner, but it needs a bit of updating at this time. The public tennis courts are an added attraction.

Finally, the NRVT is one of Wilton’s best-kept secrets. Well-maintained paths for walking, running, biking, or dog accompaniment take you as far and as fast as you choose — and the site is being expanded and extended over time. Wooden spans cross the wetlands and there is lots of company on the fine gravel paths. Chances are good that you’ll run into other like-minded exercise folks greeting you as the typical European or Asian hikers do along the way — high-spirited and friendly.

So there you have it. A place for exercise and also “peak experience” communication. While hiking, talk to your teenager, guide your grandchildren, resolve your political differences, plan futures, and share life experiences. Align yourself with Wilton’s principal wellness support offerings. Gawk, talk, and walk.

TASC stands for Toward A Stronger Community. Contact: