Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Orange Trail

April 10, 2010
2.8 miles, 1 hour

Back in the woods.

Take a look at an aerial photo of Sleeping Giant Park.  You can see the peaks that make up the Giant's profile - the head and chin, the chest, the knees.  See the two ridges than run the length of the mountain?  The Green and Orange trails run between them.  Last week I was on the Green, today it's the Orange. 

We began at the Chestnut Lane parking lot, and hiked west along the trail ending in at the park's main entrance picnic area.  The trail starts off a level, easy walk.  Then climbs between the two east red trails, levels out again, and then runs back down along the south face of the hills (it wouldn't be Sleeping Giant if there weren't a rocky climb to two).  The forest hasn't started to fill in yet, so there are views through the trees all around - the cliffs below the Tower, the south skyline and Quinnipiac campus, and the chin cliffs to the north as you cross the Tower trail.

They talk about microclimates on the mountain, and I need to bring someone who knows trees and plants with me to understand that better.  As you hike from the lower flats up the ridges, the tree and plant types change - from broadleafed plants along the streams and marshy areas, to different kinds of forest trees and undergrowth, to evergreen cedar as you change elevation and exposure. 

It's easy to tell you're getting close to the end.  The Orange trail crosses the Nature Trail and then the Tower path, and follows a spillway down to the main picnic area.  If anyone looking for a troop or Eagle Scout project stumbles on this blog, there is a small bridge that really needs some work...  and a fallen pine tree crosses the trail, festooned with blazes and arrows.  That might be blocking a trail shortcut, but it's going to fall apart soon!

And a word about timing.  Don't end the hike at lunchtime in the picnic area unless you have plans for a nearby lunch.  It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the smells of cookouts are really making me hungry.

1 comment:

  1. Hiked the entire orange today, but the opposite way, starting in the picnic area. Gorgeous for November. Leafs on top of trail made it tough, especially going back on the violet trail. I would be interested in the microclimate info as well, I ended up in a pine forest at the end of the orange trail, but the entire beginning was deciduous. Great trail, thanks for the post!



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