by Katie Salvatore
The Philbrick-Cricenti Bog Trail is one of the most unique hikes in the area and is conveniently located in central New London. The bog has been forming since the glaciers receded: a pond, at least twenty feet deep formed and arctic plants spread across the surface. Due to the high acidity of the water, the dead plants did not decay; instead they simply sank down, like moss became peat. They were replaced by new plants that eventually died and sunk down on top of their predecessors. Over time this formed the mat that can be walked on today.
The plants are still from a tundra environment so there are many unique plants to be seen. There are also some trees over sixty years old that have been dwarfed by lack of nutrients and the acidic water. In order to protect the plants, and keep hikers safe, boards have been laid down on which to walk. Because of this, it is not safe to bring dogs.
The trail is less than a mile long and is divided into five portions that highlight a special area of the bog, which are explained in the trail map. The Access Path brings you into the bog. From there the other loops branch out.
The Peek Hole Loop is first. It has a twenty-foot stick stuck into the bog which can be pulled up to show how deep it really is. The Tundra Garden Loop is next, which is bordered by fantastic flowers like bog rosemary, pitcher plants, and others depending on the season.
Following that is the Quaking Loop where some of the best “quaking” is. The mat is thinner here and shakes when walked on. The last portion is the Bog Peril Loop. While it offers some unique sights, this is where it is most important to stay on the boardwalk. Underneath the thin mat here are the remains of several animals that had the misfortune of falling in and you do not want to join them!
The Bog Trail is a quick but fascinating trail that is truly worth walking and visiting again in other seasons. The unique setting and plant life are hard to find elsewhere in such an easily accessible manner. Just stay on the path!