Once upon a time I hiked at the Devil’s Den almost weekly. That was back when my daughters were small and I worked a corporate job. The Den was a great place to get the girls outside, or get just myself outside, escaping the hubbub of home, office, and Metro-North for an hour or two. The Den provided recreation in the primary sense of the word, an essential restoring of mind and body. It was only fitting that my first Taking a Hike column, published in December 2012, was about walking to the Den’s Great Ledge.
After my girls grew too big to be dragged along on hikes, and – mostly – I began to work my own hours from my own home, I stopped visiting the Den as often. It wasn’t that I had fallen out of love with it, just that now I had the chance to try less familiar, farther off hiking places. And how could anyone fall out of love with the Den? It is 1,756 acres of wild land plumb in the middle of Fairfield County, land that could maybe have become 1,756 homes with big yards. What a miracle that, instead, it is a place where – as my wife and a daughter discovered this summer – you might meet a lazy bear out enjoying the warm evening woods just as you are.