Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Blue Trail

or What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
6 miles, 3 hours.

In my first blog entry, I said I'd been up and down the Giant many times, but I was sure there were trails I'd never been on.  Well, I have never been to this part of the park.  Started at Hartford Turnpike, a steady hike up away from the street.  The CFPA Blue Trail sign reminded me that these trails exist by the goodwill of landowners.  So let me say it right here - for anyone bordering the trails who allows their land to be used by me and countless other hikers, Thanks!

Parallel Lines - trail through the trees
Have you ever bought a "relaxation tape" with bird songs, and the sounds of gentle breezes?  Great.  Now picture that, hear that.  Do you feel relaxed?  That's what I heard, what I felt this morning...  It was going to be a nice hike. It was a half hour walk before I hit parts I recognized - crossing the yellow trail, the orange - knowing that meant the "nice hike" was over and it was time to hit the hills and climb!

Up to Hezekiah's Knob, up even more to the Left Knee, a quick detour on the Blue/Violet crossover and back to find where that Violet trail waterfall starts.  Then across toward the tower.  I stopped for a break just before the Tower, sat on the cliffs and watched turkey vultures flying lazy circles, riding the up-drafts.  Back on the trail, it started to get crowded - more groups, more noise.  Yes - the Tower! and there were people hanging out of every window enjoying the day, enjoying the view.

The Blue Trail goes across the Giant's northern ridges and is, just as the guide map says, one of the toughest trails here.  Lots of climbing, but since it runs along the peaks of the hills, you get some of the best views in all directions.

Hanging Hills to the north
Ever notice how people outdoors act?  Boaters sound their horns and wave as they pass another boat.  Hikers give you a smile and a "good morning" when you pass on a trail.  Try that as you drive a car down the street - the other driver may wave, but with fewer fingers!  I'll stick with the hikers when I can.

The Tower is on the highest point on the mountain.  Another of the highest points is the Chin.  So as I'm going down a steep hill after the Tower, I know that means even more of a rock-climb back up to the Chin!  On the way up, I passed several groups coming the other way - down toward the Tower. In fact, I was the only one heading in this direction all morning.  As we got close, I could hear snippets of the conversations...
One guy - " ... how he got such a low GPA?Other guy - "Too much partying, dude.  Some kids get the freedom and can't handle it...We pass on the trail - " Hi - how're you doing?"
Second group comes into view -
One girl - "... you saw her - up there dancing, she couldn't tap dance to save her life"Another guy - "Oh yeah, but she could..."We pass - Hi, come on down", I say, making room on the rocks.Girl, smiling, says "Don't worry, it's all good.  Have a good day!"
After I was out of earshot, they could have been saying "did you see him?  Dead man walking!"  But they were nice about it, I was tired and trying to get up to the Chin.  So it was all good.

The view off the Chin is worth the climb.  Looking down on Quinnipiac, south to New Haven, north to the Hanging Hills of Meriden.  I can see for miles and miles and...

Lessons learned:
1.  Any more trips on the Blue Trail will be broken into smaller chunks.
2. A two hour hike is better than a three hour hard hike (and yes I know that means I need to get out more).
3. Never, never, NEVER hike the Chin going west!  Trying to climb down the cliff past the quarry to the base is life threatening, especially when tired at the end of the hike.  Going up is steep, but definitely the way to go next time.

The Quarry on the way down
I will admit to some butt-sliding down the rocks.  But I'm sure nobody saw, so my Mountain Man persona is intact!  I remember years back taking my kids, with some of their friends, up the blue trail here to the Chin.  And how some of them were terrified of the climb up the rock face.  "Don't look down, you'll be fine".  Well all I can do now is look down.  Sorry kids - I should have been more sympathetic!

Mill River - cooling my feet after the hike

1 comment:

  1. I did my first hike at Sleeping Giant today on the blue/white trail and I had such a great time. Your post here was super helpful for me. Thank you!



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