Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hike #38: Lion's Head - Salisbury, CT

Date Hiked: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Estimated distance: 2.35 miles
Weather: 80°F, sunny
Resources:  Berkshire Hiking, Hike the Hudson Valley, Agile Trekker, Hiking the Taconic Range,
Highlights of the trip:  views from the top
Progress toward 2016 hiking goals:  38/52 hikes; 143.49/250 miles; 31.37/25 miles on Tunxis Trail

My hiking partner contacted me with an idea for a hike that would allow me to check off one of my hiking goals for the year:  Hike on the Appalachian Trail.

This was a relatively short hike, but since I hadn't been out hiking in a couple of weeks, I was a little afraid of biting off more than I could chew.  This hike was perfect.

You can get instructions on how to get to the trail head from Berkshire Hiking, linked above.  I will note that the center of Salisbury is a mess right now with a paving job going on on Route 44.  Hopefully it will be done before too long.

We got to the trail head parking lot around 9:45 and were the only ones there.  The beginning of the trail is on the east side of Bunker Hill Road and from here we had fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.

We crossed Bunker Hill Road and entered the woods.  Before long we started a fairly steady climb to the summit.  The Appalachian Trail, blazed white, came in on the right and joined the trail we had been on, which was blazed light blue.  We reached a flat area where the trails diverged.  The Appalachian Trail heads to the right up a short, but fairly steep hill to the top.  This is the route we took, but you can also stay straight and take the blue trail which loops around to the top and is not as steep.  We took the blue trail on our way down.

White-blazed Appalachian Trail.
The view from the top is well worth the climb (and it really wasn't that bad a climb).  We could see Twin Lakes to the east (where we were headed after our hike) with Toms Hill behind it.

Twin Lakes to the east.

Looking southeast.
As we stood taking in the view, we heard voices approaching.  A young couple from Florida arrived.  I believe she was through hiking the AT and he was joining her for the week.   We had a nice chat with them and headed out.  There were a couple of other guys that looked like through hikers taking a break under the sign for the summit.

We continued on the trail until we came to the plateau (mentioned on the Berkshire Hiking website) with nice views looking north.  Maybe Bear Mountain in the distance, I am not sure.  I was supposed to download the PeakFinder app, but it hasn't happened yet.

We left the plateau and headed back along the blue trail.  It looped back around to the place where we had taken the steeper climb up to the top, and then we went back down along the trail to the car.  Not a long hike at all and round 500 feet of elevation gain.

Once we got out of the mess that was downtown Salisbury, we made our way over to my friend's cabin on Twin Lakes and had a picnic lunch and caught up.  At other times, we've come out here to go kayaking, but today it was just yakking.  Hiking and having a picnic with a friend is a great way to spend a summer day.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hike #37: McLean Game Refuge - Granby, CT

Date Hiked: Sunday, July 3, 2016
Estimated distance: 3.65 miles
Weather: 79°F, sunny
Resources:  McLean Game Refuge Trail Map
Highlights of the trip:  views of Spring Pond and fields
Progress toward 2016 hiking goals:  37/52 hikes; 141.14/250 miles; 31.37/25 miles on Tunxis Trail

I didn't plan, so did a tried and true hike today.

Spring Pond.

Water lilies.

Western Barndoor Hill off to the left.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Update: 2016 Hiking Goals

An update at the end of the second quarter.

1.  Take 52 hikes.  
36/52 hikes.  I am more than half-way to my goal, so I am ahead of schedule.

2.  Hike for 250 miles.
137.49/250 miles.  To be on target, I should have completed 125 miles in the first 6 months.  I am ahead of schedule, but this is the goal that keeps me motivated.  I'm afraid I will slack off in the warmer weather.

3.  Hike at least 25 miles of the Tunxis Trail
31.37/25 miles.  This goal has been completed.  There are more miles that can be done on this trail, but unless they form a loop where my hiking partner and I can just take one car, we probably won't do them.  They are just too far away to justify two cars.

4.  Visit Bash Bish Falls (Massachusetts)

5.  Hike Mount Monadnock (New Hampshire)

6.  Visit a "new-to-me" state park or forest in Massachusetts (Bash Bish does not count).
Hiked the D.A.R. State Forest in Goshen, MA on April 23.

7.  Hike on the Appalachian Trail

I had hoped to have Bash Bish done by now, but it just hasn't worked out, probably because I have it in my head to combine it with nearby Alander Mountain and that requires more planning.  I know where I want to go on the Appalachian Trail, I just want someone to go with me since it is farther away.  With the Tunxis out of the way, I should be able to focus on getting one of these other goals done in the next quarter.

Hike #36: Hedgehog Trail - Simsbury, CT

Date Hiked: Thursday, June 30, 2016
Estimated distance: 1.00 miles
Weather: 77°F, sunny
Resources:  Simsbury Land Trust WalkBook
Highlights of the trip:  view
Progress toward 2016 hiking goals:  36/52 hikes; 137.49/250 miles; 31.37/25 miles on Tunxis Trail

My son asked if I would join him for a hike.  I couldn't pass that up!  I know he likes something that provides a "wow" factor and he wanted something relatively close to home, so we decided to climb up to the lookout on the Hedgehog Trail, part of the Western Highlands in Simsbury. 

It was a relatively quick up and back, starting from the end of North Saddle Ridge Drive.  We parked in the cul-de-sac and climbed up past the non-existent waterfall.  The views from the top are excellent.  Looking north, you will see the Barndoor Hills in Granby and farther west and north you can see Mount Tom in Massachusetts.

Mount Tom is far left just above the tree branch.  Barndoor Hills in the middle of the picture.

This wrapped up my first six months of hiking in 2016, so my next post will take a look at the progress I have made on my hiking goals.