Estimated distance: 3+ miles
Weather: sunny, cloudy, rainy (it's New England), 74°F
Resources: CT Walk Book West, CTMuseumQuest
Highlights of the trip: view of Lake McDonough, catching up with a friend
On Saturday, I was casting about for a place to go hiking. I wanted to try this hike on the Tunxis Trail, but my usual hiking companion was busy. I don't mind hiking alone, but I would prefer to do it with someone else when it is an area I haven't been before. I had resigned myself to a hike in McLean Game Refuge (which is very nice, but I go there a lot), when I received a call from my oldest and dearest friend. Her husband was busy and she wondered if I wanted to go for a hike. Perfect!
We drove over to Ratlum Road in Barkhamsted and left her car in the parking lot at Ski Sundown. Sundown was having a brewfest at 4 p.m., but it was 12:30 and we figured we'd be done well before the crowd arrived. We drove north on Ratlum to just before its intersection with 219 and parked in a little lot there to start our hike.
We started climbing and before too long came to the first overlook. From here there was a somewhat obstructed view of the Barkhamsted Reservoir.
It was a nice ramble through the woods. Some areas were a little muddy and are probably not very pleasant to pass in the spring. At some point we came across the marker pictured below. I believe the H.W.W. stands for Hartford Water Works. I am not sure about the numbers. I thought 1820 was the date, but from what I can tell, HWW didn't form for another 35 years.
This whole idea of creating large reservoirs by damming rivers and drowning towns has always intrigued me. The Quabbin Reservoir, in my native Massachusetts, drowned four towns in the 1930's. How can the powers-that-be do this, and what happens to the poor people that lose their homes? The Barkhamsted Reservoir drowned two villages, Hartland Hollow and Barkhamsted Hollow. After seeing a comment on Steve Wood's website, CTMuseumQuest, I have taken the book Water for Hartford by Kevin Murphy out of the library to get some more background.
Onward. It turns out I am not alone in my fascination with mushrooms. We made quite a few stops to take pictures of what we found.
|Spindle-shaped yellow coral?|
|Signed the trail log.|
|The view of Lake McDonough was fantastic.|
We made it back to Sundown just as the brewfest was getting underway. A beer might have been a nice way to end the hike, but it would have been a pretty expensive beer. I think the tickets were around $30.
This was a great hike, made even better by having a friend along.