Monday, March 29, 2010

Violet and Green Trails

March 28, 2010

4 1/2 miles, 2 hours.

Wow, who knew there was a whole park east of the Tower! There's one advantage to entering Sleeping Giant Park on the east end - the trail head at the Chestnut Drive parking lot is about 100' higher in elevation than the main entrance. You're part way up the hill already!

I'm finishing the east end of the Violet trail today, then cutting up to the blue/white connector west of the tower, and taking the Green trail from it's start on top of the Giant's Chest back east down to his feet at the east end of the park.

First a quick note about the mileage and times at the start of these entries. The mileage is a good estimate just based on the map scale. The times? I'm tall and hike quickly over the flats, but I'm 50 and out of shape so take time to catch my breath after a climb. And I stop to take pictures, or watch the deer, or tape the frogs. In other words, your times and distance may vary!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Violet Trail and Tower Path

3/21/2010 3½ miles, 1½ hours

Early morning hike up the Violet trail to check the crossing between the Red Triangle and Circle trails for the Waterfall hike I talked about last entry. Then a switch over to the Blue trail west to the tower, and back down the Tower Path ending in the park’s parking lot.

The Violet trail runs along the Mill River on the park’s west side, past the dam and swimming hole (Axle Shop Pond), the old trap rock quarry, and then up the mountain. In the summer, the rocks around the swimming hole might be covered in kids, but there are only a couple of fisherman out on the river this early.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Red Triangle and Circle Trails

3/20/2010 3¼ miles, 2 hours
Sleeping Giant State Park

Gorgeous morning for the next hike around Sleeping Giant.  Halfway up the 400' ascent, worthy of a mountain goat (granted, an old crippled one) the phone rings.  Yes, the phone - how else will I call for an air lift when I collapse?   "Is there an extra key on your keyring" the boy asks.  Why, yes there is!   "It's for the office, I need it to get into work."

OK, back down the hill.  I started hiking to get a little exercise, so what's an extra mile, right??

These are the next two north-south trails, in roughly the center of the park.  A little tougher, they work their way up and then back down the mountain, peaking near 600’ feet elevation.  I entered the park at the south Triangle trailhead across from Hogan Road.  It’s a steep hike up to the White trail crossing, leveling out as it crosses the Tower Trail, and then an easy hike back down, exiting at Tuttle Ave.  The trail runs along a stream and waterfall near the Tuttle Ave trailhead.

Red Diamond and Hexagon Trails

2/28/2010 2 miles, 1 ¼ hours (maybe only 45 minutes if you don't spend time slipping on the ice)
Sleeping Giant State Park

Sleeping Giant’s trails are marked two ways. The North-South trails are marked with red shapes, the East-West trails are marked with colored blazes painted on the trees. The traprock trails are a little on the rugged side. But these first two are the easy ones, or it looks that way on the map – the Red Diamond trail is level, the Red Hexagon trail looks like it goes around the steep ascents instead of through them. This should be a quick 2 mile hike.

Hiking Sleeping Giant State Park

Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden, Connecticut

I’ve been up and down Sleeping Giant many, many times over the years, but have only hiked a small number of the trails.  Sleeping Giant Mountain (OK, flatlanders like me call this a mountain even though the highest point is just over 700’.  If you've got real mountains in the neighborhood, you might downgrade this one a little) has about a dozen marked trails, with over 30 miles of hiking up, down and around the Giant.

The Giant rests in the 1500 acre Sleeping Giant State Park. Wikipedia notes that "the Sleeping Giant receives its name from its anthropomorphic resemblance to a slumbering human figure". I guess that means it looks like a sleeping giant.

Needing a little exercise these days, I’ll be hiking each one of the marked trails over the next few months.


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