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!

The Violet and Green trails are my favorite hikes so far. The Violet trail works along the back / north side of the park - quieter and less crowded than the south side along Mt. Carmel Ave. It starts at the west along the Mill River and quarry, and finishes in the flats at the east end. In between, there's a climb and a small waterfall crossing opening to cliffs offering views to the north. A stream has cut the waterfall down a long rock face. It's only about a foot across, but the water has cut a well defined channel over the ledge and down the face. I'll have to get down to the base sometime to take a look back up the falls. Overall, the Violet is one of the easier trails, but the terrain and vegetation vary enough to make it a good hike over the length of the Giant.

At the red Triangle crossing, I turned south to the Tower path, the Blue trail, the Blue/White connector and finally up the White trail to find the start of the Green Trail on the Giant's chest. This is one of the highest points on the Gaint, and looks west to the cliffs of the Giant's chin, and southwest over Quinnipiac's main campus and the new York Hill campus. And I like altititude. Standing on the rock face looking out over the town is a good feeling.

The Green Trail heads back east, running between the peaks of the Giant's ridges. It's Sleeping Giant, so the trail does go through rock fields, but not the ankle-breakers you find on the Red Circle trail. There's a section near the east end where the trail widens, and runs under a canopy of Mountain Laurel. It's been raining a lot, there are marshy sections of the trail, but should dry out by summer.

It's early spring, still a little cold and cloudy. No deer, no noise from the frog ponds this morning. I'll make this trek again later in the year when the forest starts to fill in. Should be a great hike.

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