Monday, January 3, 2011

One More Day on the Giant

It's New England.  If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.

The warm weather from the last few days gave way to howling winds and plummeting temperatures - back down anyway to the 20's and 30's where it belongs for January.  It's clear and sunny, and the last day of holiday before I go back to work tomorrow, so time for a little hike.

You may have noticed photos from the last few days are trails at Sleeping Giant State Park.  I wrote an article for the Giant News - the association's newsletter.  The article was about being a Four Season Giant Master, hiking all the marked trails in the park in each season - spring, summer, fall and now finally winter.  On the off-chance the article is published in February's edition, I figure it's a good idea if I actually become a Four Season Master by then.  Otherwise, my limited credibility as a writer suffers.  So I'm back on the Giant for the next few weekends pumping out the miles.

Swamped trail along the Red Circle - ankle deep when you break though the ice

Through the Laurels

A little icy up the traprock steps on the Blue Trail

Hey - big news for you Giant fans!  I was trolling blogs and websites deciding which trails I'd hit next, and found that the Connecticut Museum Quest guy has started hiking and writing about Sleeping Giant.  We've hit the big time.  CTMQ is a blog/website dedicated to “Destroying the myth that there is nothing to do here” (in Connecticut) - museums, hiking, even diners (another subject near and dear to my heart).  It's a great resource to check for those popular spots as well as for places you never knew existed.

But back to the hike.  Once in a while, I color outside the lines. So this time through the park, I'm spending more time on the not-marked trails as well as the blazed ones.  This view is from the Lost Vista Trail - running between the Red Square and Blue Trails.  Through the trees (in winter anyway when the vista isn't lost), you can see Mount Higby and the Hanging Hills in Meriden.  

This little trail runs between the Blue and Green Trails going around the Left Knee instead of up and over.  I'm sure the trail has a name.  It's like getting an Animal Style at In-and-Out Burger.  It's not on the menu, you just have to know what to ask for.  So the hunt is on for 'secret' trails.  

And one last comment on hiking gear.  Trekking poles have become a necessary evil for me.  On slippery trails, anytime the footing isn't all it should be, I'll have the poles out.  At six foot four, it's a long way down to the ice and rocks if I slip and, unlike Bumbles, I don't bounce.  But after seeing how scratched up the Mattabesett is from pole spikes, and hiking behind people waving their poles in the air when they're not really needed (watch that back swing), and trying to pack them out of the way when hiking flat trail sections, I'd rather do without.  And then having to screech to a halt on the way down the Green today to retrieve the pole I wedged between rocks and tweaked my shoulder a little..., well you get the idea.  A necessary evil.

Happy Hiking!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Day day after Hike

As happens all too often here, a good snowstorm is followed quickly by warmer temperatures and at least a little rain.  That mucks up the trails as the surface thaws; mud and ice make a really slick track.

With the thaw yesterday, and rain this morning, the planned walk along the river was cancelled - it would have been really wet and sloppy.  But there was still time for a little wander.

After a hearty New Year's Eve celebration, I spent New Year's Day in a fog - and today the weather played the same trick.  Nothing changes the mood of a hike quicker than fog.  Even familiar trails get a little mysterious - scenery in the distance revealed a little at a time.

With fog swirling around the valleys, the view off the cliffs make it look like I've been hiking above the clouds.

And just as it started to rain again, back down at the foot of the hills.


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