West Mountain Trails Simsbury, CT Hike

Early birds on the trail this morning, or maybe I should say early food source for the mosquitoes? Our feet hit the trail around 7:30 a.m. and no cars were in the lot.

Our trail begin at the Westledge Road trailhead. We decided to follow the red trail first and go up the ridge.

At the powerline crossing we had our first hazy view out.

Crossing the powerlines

We continued up till we hit the ridgeline with more hazy views.

We tucked into the woods for a bit before the next window to views emerged.

We came off the ridge and met the white trail. We used the white trail as the connector to the blue trail.

Once on the blue trail, I took a minute to remember a friend’s daughter who passed away. Today people were asked to walk/run 2.4 miles to remember her (It was her college jersey number 24).

We followed the blue till it rejoined the red and returned to the parking lot that was now full of cars. This time we remembered to bring the coffee to enjoy on the car ride home.

It was a great 4 mile trail, minus being food for the mosquitos that were non stop chowing on us. Glad we hit the trail early to avoid the crowds of people that hike later in the day. Here is the link to the trail West Mountain Trails belonging to the Simsbury Land Trust. https://simsburylandtrust.org/slt/west-mountain-trails/

Here are our stats.

Lyme Corner Trails – October 2018

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Our four mile hike today took us into the Lyme Corner Trails in Connecticut.  This area consists of Hartman Park, Walbridge Woodlands and Philip E. Young Preserve. We only did about a third of the trails in this complex of preserves, parks and woodlands.

There are four different parking areas for this trail system on Gungy Road.  We parked at the Field Entrance.  The trails we explored were the  Yellow to the Red to the Green Red, back to the Red, to the Orange, a bit on the Park Road (purple) to Orange to Blue to Orange and returned on the Yellow we entered in on.

Our first sight was Lily Rock close to the beginning of the hike.

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Our our way to Turtle Rock we meandered about in the woods.  There were numerous bridges over small streams throughout the trail system.

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Returning to the Red Trail we traipsed across the “bald nubble”.

From here we made our way over to the next sight, an overlook that included powerline viewing.

After the overlook and briefly losing the orange trail, but finding it again, we continued on the orange to the blue trail only to return to the orange to see “the flume”.

The orange trail led us to the yellow trail and back to our car.

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We wandered for about four miles in the forest.  After our hike we headed over to Niantic to try out a new brewery, Noble Jay.  Always good to enjoy a pint after a hike. This was a well spent morning, exploring the forests of Lyme, Connecticut.

 

Timberland Preserve – September 2018

Today we headed off to hike a new to us trail, Timberland Preserve in Guilford.  This Preserve had so many trail options, it is a great choice to hike if you are looking to do either long or short distances.  We did a bit of a loop hike here, getting in 4 miles for an hour and half.  There are over 15 miles of trails here, so well worth spending some time here.  This was just a lovely quiet walk in the woods.  Not much to ruminate here about the hike, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Don’t forget your boots!! Or hiking Soapstone

Early this morning we decided to go do a short hike in Somers, Ct up to Soapstone Mountain.  It is about a 45 minute drive from our house.  Thirty minutes into the drive, I realized I left my hiking shoes at home.  A big oops. I just hopped in the car on the passenger side with my socks on and made sure we had everything else such as after-hike coconut water, snacks, flip-flops and the most important item ice cream money with us.  Guess my mind was thinking more about after hike than the actual hike.

After turning around, picking up the shoes and returning to the road we made it to the trailhead about an hour and half later.  The hike starts in the Shenispsit State Forest off of Gulf Road.  It has a nice sized parking lot.   We started on the blue blazed trail, then connected to the yellow marked trail.  This was a nice easy trail with informational signs scattered throughout.

We left the yellow and returned to the blue and followed the Shenispsit trail until it crossed the road.  At this point we turned left on the road and continued on it for a short bit.

Short road walk

We then turned left back on the blue which would lead us up to Soapstone.  The trail for us was fairly easy.  We were missing hiking the White Mountains and lamenting how this trail was not a challenge for us.  Well that soon ended.  A quarter-mile from the tower at Soapstone, we hit the part of the trail that seemed  White Mountainish.  We rejoiced.  This section had a steady incline and even a bit of rock slab. We hiked up 300 feet in a quarter-mile.

After that we popped out at the tower.  The tower had beautiful views.  Glad we turned around to get my boots and didn’t abandon the notion of hiking here today.

View from Soapstone Tower

Another view from the tower

We didn’t continue the way we came up, instead followed the trail down to the parking lot.  This way down was easy and not nearly as fun as the way we went up.  If you want a straight shot up to the Soapstone tower this is the way to go, it is about .4 miles and not a taxing hike.

turkey fungus on the way down

Overall we completed 3.4 miles in an hour and 27 minutes with an average speed of 2.3 miles.  If you are looking for a short hike with a rewarding view and not terribly strenuous, I would recommend this one. And remember don’t forget your shoes!!

Don’t forget the hiking shoes

Warren’s Den to Rattlesnake Cliffs to Pinnacle Rock

Metacomet Trail from Route 6 to Warren’s Den to Rattlesnake Cliffs to Pinnacle Rock.  

Another Connecticut trail full of history, rocks and beauty.  This is one of my go to trails for all seasons and all levels of exercise.  

This winter we started snowshoeing and it is a perfect trail to practice snowshoeing techniques.  

On clear days within the first .25 miles you can see Heublein Tower off in the distance.  

The trail cuts in and out of level forests to moderate inclines to trudge up or down.  

Once you reach Warren’s Den you are treated to an informational plaque and great rock formations to explore.

A bit past the den, you reach Rattlesnake Cliffs,  a traprock creation that has panoramic views. (1.2 miles to this point)

If you continue past Rattlesnake you travel through more of the Metacomet Trail to Pinnacle Rock, a rock climbers haven.  (from rt. 6 it is 2.4 miles).
Bring a snack and hang out for a while on Pinnacle Rock before resuming your hike back to Route 6.

Anytime of year this is a great hike.  My favorite season is winter with snow decorating the landscape. 

The Details: Park off road on Rt. 6 Farmington (a small parking area is provided and yes it is plowed). 1.1 miles to Warren’s Den, but go the extra .1 mile to Rattlesnake Cliffs for the views.  If you want continue on for another 1.2 miles to Pinnacle Rock.  This is not a time-consuming hike (unless you are snowshoeing).  Great views, lovely forests and fun ups and downs make this a fun hike, especially for a family outing.

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Nature’s Gems

The trails of Chauncey Peak and Mount Lamentation are full of nature’s special gems scattered throughout its woods and ridges.  In every season you are bestowed gifts of wildflowers, creatures and views.

Mike and I have traversed these trails in every season, as a point to point, loop hikes and power fitness hikes.  We always have the same starting point on these adventures, Giuffrida Park in Meriden.  We follow the blue Mattabessett Trail markers past the “warning” sign of danger  that lurks on these rocky trails and up the steep, rock strewn incline.

The first time I attempted this climb up, fear gripped me and it took me at least 25 minutes to get to the top of Chauncey Peak.  The last part of straight up, using handholds to boost myself up almost had me crying. I succeeded and conquered that slab of rock. After five hikes up here, my last time was a powerful 12 minutes and the fear had evaporated.

Nature waited to display her first gem to us, the view on top of Chauncey Peak.  It clearly flaunted our own Sleeping Giant in New Haven in the distance.

Over to the right of Sleeping Giant towered Castle Craig.

Following the trail you pass a quarry on your right. Along this stretch we uncovered some gems in various seasons.  In summer nature nourished us with rich blackberries.

In spring nature treated us to Dutchman’s breeches, Nightcaps and budding maples.

As we followed the ridge, we gazed down on Crescent Lake and headed off of Chauncey Peak. 

Down we descended, while being treated to ferns unfurling from the rocks.

If you want to keep this a short walk, cross the stream and turn left.  Follow the path by the water, gazing up at where you just walked.  This is a peaceful pine forest to finish your hike.

However if you are up for adventure, after crossing the stream go right and head up to Mount Lamentation.  Here nature amazed us with gems of the insect variety.  A beautiful specimen of a dragon fly, spider webs with their makers, and a grasshopper that posed.

The first time we did this as a point to point, the trail led us astray.  Someone had painted over the blue blazes and we became a bit lost.  We did eventually find the trail that led us to Lamentation Drive in Berlin.  It added another mile on to our mileage.

Mike and I later went back starting at Lamentation Drive in Berlin to see where we missed the trail makers to the correct path.  When we discovered where we went off trail, Mike did a little trail maintenance so others wouldn’t make the same mistake.

If you want to make this a loop trail and head back to Giuffrida Park, follow the yellow trail blazes back to the blue markers.  On this path, we were greeted with more spring flowers Trout Lilly and Stinking Benjamin. 

Stinking Benjamin is reported to smell like rotting flesh, don’t know if I consider that a gem of Mother Nature.

We will continue to hike this area in all seasons, knowing that Mother Nature will grace us with her gems of the forest.

Until the next hike…

The details:  Starting at Giuffrida  Park in Meriden the first 1/3 mile is strenuous, make sure you are in good cardio shape.  As a short loop hike just up and around Chauncey Peak a little over two miles.  As a point to point ending at Lamentation Drive in Berlin, a bit over five.  To do the loop from Chauncey Peak  to Lamentation back to Giuffrida over 4.5 miles. Time spent is anywhere from an hour and half to four hours.

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