This is directly from the CT-DEEP and it's AWESOME!
Fall 2020-Get outside to hike and walk while enjoying the autumnal views and ever-changing foliage with Sky’s the Limit.
Join the CT DEEP State Parks’ Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge (“STL”) with this year’s modified version (due to COVID-19),Paths Less Traveled throughout CT. STL hikers choose their hike locations by visiting lesser known and less popular hiking trails within CT State Parks and Forests and more specifically, those located close to home.
The Challenge: Visit hiking trails from the following:3 CT State Parks,3 CT State Forests and 3 Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails for a total of nine (9) hiking location visits between Monday, October 5, 2020 and Monday, December 21, 2020 (Please note that you must visit 9 unique hiking /locations and cannot combine trails). For each of the 9 locations visited, each participant shall email the following 2 items to DEEP.SkystheLimit@ct.gov before 3 pm (EST) on December 23, 2020 for each location chosen:
- Photograph showing the location of each chosen hike (State Park or Forest sign, trail signage, etc.) with oneself in the photo; and
- Share the reason each location was chosen and a memorable part of the hike (50 words or less).
For the 2020 Sky's The Limit, we are asking the STL hikers to provide one submission, such as a word document to DEEP.SkystheLimit@ct.gov that includes all the locations that were hiked. Please be sure to also include the following information: name, address, email, phone number, and signed photo release. Photo Release Form. Each STL hiking participant shall submit a signed Photo Release. This form can be printed out, filled out and then a photo of the form can be taken and sent in with your submission.
If 6 hiking trails/locations in CT are visited, and the required information submitted by 3 pm EST December 23, 2020, participants in this friendly competition will receive a 2020 STL certificate and STL hiking bumper sticker and/or magnet.
STL hikers who visit all 9 hiking locations and submit the required information listed above by 3:00 pm EST on December 23, 2020; will have their name entered into a drawing on January 1, 2020, for a chance to win a hand-carved hiking staff from the CT Woodcarvers Association and/or from the CT DEEP Sawmill.
State Parks, Forests, and other natural spaces are open for solitary recreation. It is important that if you plan to visit natural spaces, that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing.
Helpful Information: For the safety of fellow STL hikers, DEEP staff, and others enjoying the trails, please remember the following when walking and hiking with the STL Hiking Challenge:
- If you’re not feeling well, stay home! Signs and symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- Rather than traveling to some of the most popular spots, for example, Hammonasset Beach State Park, Sleeping Giant State Park, or Bluff Point State Park, try a park or forest you may not have visited before or one close to your home.
- If you arrive at a park or forest and crowds are forming, choose a different park and trail, or return another day or time.
- Observe the CDC's minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people, whether you’re walking or hiking. Practice it and know what it looks like.
- Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell, or horn.
- While enjoying your hike or walk, be safe outdoors by staying on the marked trails, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask if you can't social distance, and most importantly, have fun exploring.
- Follow the CDC's guidelines on personal hygiene prior to heading out on the trails. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails and equipment.
- Bring water or drinks.
- Bring a whistle, sunblock, map and insect repellant.
- Dress for the weather. It is best to dress in layers. As you warm up while hiking, you can remove outer layers.
- Hunting is allowed in most state forests and some state parks so check out the CT Hunting and Trapping Guide and don't forget to wear orange during hunting season. Also, bring a whistle or make noise so hunters know you are in the area.
- Be Bear Aware and do make your presence known by making noise while hiking. If you see a bear, make enough noise and wave your arms so the bar is aware of your presence.
- Remember to protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
- Dogs must be on a leashes for their safety, the safety of wildlife and fellow hikers.
- Don't forget to bring a map and know what the trail blazes mean (don't think just because there is a wide open trail that is the correct way to go, there might be a spur trail that is not obvious.