Sunday, July 11, 2010

West Rock Ridge State Park

... around Lake Wintergreen.

I joined a New Haven Hiking Club hike Saturday at West Rock Ridge State Park, meeting at Lake Wintergreen.  I was early for the start, and waited at the lake watching kayaks launching out into the water, mountain bikers heading into the trails and families and dogs taking a walk in the woods.  Everyone was out trying to get some nice day in before the thunderstorms that were forecast later.

Once everyone arrived, and signed in (and yes, I realize if I fall or twist an ankle or get lost in the woods it's my own problem and not the responsibility of the Hiking Club, hike leader, etc etc) we set off heading north on the Red Trail along Wintergreen Brook.  There were seven of us, with Gordon in the lead.  The trail was a level, easy walk along the stream and then into the woods.  At 2.7 miles, we turned west on Mountain Road, and then into the woods again taking the Yellow trail up the hill, where it meets the Regicides Trail.

      Link to Trail Map                    Link to Park Web Site

The Regicides Trail is a seven mile spur of the Blue Blazed trails running from The Quinnipiac Trail on York Mountain at the north, to West Rock at the south.  We hiked roughly the middle three miles.  Like much of the Quinnipiac Trail, the Regicides runs along the mountain ridge.  If the trail gets too rocky for you, Baldwin Drive is about 10 steps away.  The road is closed to motor traffic and runs the length of the park parallel to the Blue Trail.

There are great views to the west from lookouts along the trail - looking out it seems there's nothing but trees in Woodbridge.  We snacked as we went - wild blueberries and huckleberries grow along the trail.  It's been so dry the berries were pretty small - but tasty!  We stopped for lunch on the rocks above Lake Dawson.  I'll have to come back in the fall when air clears and the leaves turn color.  Spectacular.

I took the lead right after lunch, and in a few minutes came to a trail crossing.  Yelling back - do we take the Yellow or stay on Blue?  Immediately, urgent cries came back - 'Don't take the Yellow!!!'; 'Not the Yellow!!!' NO YELLOW!!'.  Easy guys, no problem - we'll stay on the Blue.  The Yellow here is one of the access trails running west to the Woodbridge side, leading back down the mountain in the exact opposite direction we wanted to head today. 

A few minutes later, the trail crossed  Baldwin Drive, and we took the Orange back down toward Lake Wintergreen.  Then on to the White trail  - a wide, level path that runs through the pine forest along the western shore of the lake, taking us back to the parking lot.  It was a nice easy six miles, the ascent on the yellow was fairly steep, but we took it slow.  Back down on the Orange, it's just a moderate hike down the hill.  There are about 21 miles of the trails in park - that just leaves 15 to go!

1 comment:

  1. My blog provides lots of pictures and information about West Rock.



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