Arthur Olson Woods
Heather Lane, Darien, Fairfield County, Connecticut
13.1 acres


Directions:

Merritt Parkway (Route 15) north to Exit 36; drive somewhere around 3 or a little more miles south on Route 106 (Hoyt Street); turn right onto Heather Lane and drive to the dead end circle.  Park on the circle.  The trail starts off the circle.


History:

1989 (12/29) property acquired.


Arthur Olson

Old Kings Highway North, Darien, Fairfield County, Connecticut


Trails:

Walking trails.

10/31/2005.  On a beautiful early afternoon, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked on the circle at the end of Heather Lane.  The trail heads for a short ways into the woods and then splits, going right and left.  We decided to go left first.  This took us along the side of a pond, the banks covered with invasive species.  We walked a short way to turn left to follow the curve of the pond.  We found ourselves on a peninsula: the pond on the left, a stream on the right, and the same stream at the rounded tip.

This area probably gets flooded a lot because it is covered with a great many worn tree trunks and branches.  There is no clear path on the peninsula so we were bushwhacking a bit and climbing over the trunks and branches.

Returned to the main entrance and now took the left trail.  It headed downhill a short distance and then followed the pond shore, but not close to it.  They have a nice wooden, arched bridge over a small stream (that I could have just hopped over, but it is still pretty).  We kept following the trail as it approached the pond shore and then the stream outlet from the pond.  Passed a side trail on the left.  I figured it was just going to head up to the private houses.  (But it actually is part of a small loop trail.)

Stopped to finish up the cutting job on a huge Asiatic bittersweet vine.  I had my pocket saw with me and was able to finish the cut that someone had started with an axe.  It felt good seeing it swinging in the wind after it was cut.

We could have actually continued on with the trail following the stream, but decided to finish up with the small loop trail and get back to the main trail by the pond shore.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 10/31/2005


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix spp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Taxus sp. (yew)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum sieboldii (Siebold's viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Euonymus fortunii (Fortune's euonymus)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaf greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster spp. (aster)     *
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)
Duchesnea indica (Indian strawberry)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed)     *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Ferns:
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)