Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hike #50: Peak Mountain (Metacomet Trail) - Suffield/East Granby

Date Hiked: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Estimated distance:  5.2 miles (based on CF&PA Walk Book)
Weather: 75°F, sunny
Resources:  CF&PA Walk Book West, CT NET: Section 20
Highlights of the trip:  fall colors, views, fun group of people to hike with
Progress toward 2016 hiking goals:  50/52 hikes; 191.35/250 miles; 31.37/25 miles on Tunxis Trail

My husband and I have been attending the Our Night Sky video/discussion series put on by the East Granby Land Trust.  We have really enjoyed it and have met some very nice people.  They invited us to join them on their next hike, and I took them up on their offer.

The plan was to hike the part of the Metacomet Trail that runs from Phelps Road in Suffield, south to the corner of Route 20 and Newgate Road in East Granby.  We met at the East Granby Community Center and carpooled to our starting point in Suffield.  Cars had already been left at the finish in East Granby.

GPS Route from the MapMyHike app using OpenStreetMap.

I thought I had turned my MapMyHike app on before we started, but it didn't register and we were about 3/4 of a mile in before I realized it (that's why I am using the mileage listed in the Walk Book).

Whenever I think about hiking along this section of the trail, I think of an initial climb to gain the ridge and then level trail until the climb down at the end.  That is not really what happens (which you can see by looking at the red elevation line at the bottom of the map above), but the trail is still not that difficult.  The most challenging part is at the start/end in East Granby.  However, when you have a nice group of people to talk with along the way, you barely notice when you are climbing.

Not long after we started the hike, we came to an old chimney on the east side of the trail.  There was a bench nearby (I think there used to be more).  I don't know if this was part of an old cabin or was built as a free-standing structure.  I tried to do a little research, but did not come up with anything.

As we hiked along, there were some great westerly views of Manitook Mountain in Granby. In the picture below, you can see the cliff that is located near the bike trail that goes by the other end of Phelps Road.

We came to several overlooks on our way south.  They are difficult to see in the picture below, but the Barndoor Hills are visible just below the horizon in the middle of the photo.

And while the views may be why most people take this hike, there are plenty of other interesting things to see along the way.  We had some great discussions about various trees - telling white oak, from red, and the different types of white and red oak.  Did you know that black oak is a type of red oak?  Or that there is something called chestnut oak (part of the white oak group)?  We were also on the lookout for witch hazel.  I believe we found it, but with no flowers, there was some discussion.  We also saw quite a few mushrooms, including the Sulphur Shelf, that I think is so cool.

The rocks that make up the ridge are really interesting.  I think we take them for granted when we are standing on them looking out at the spectacular view.  In a couple of places, rocks jut up along the trail, and then you can really get a sense of how amazing they are.  These are the result of volcanic and then earthquake activity.  


This was truly a spectacular day to hike.  The air was crisp.  The sky was sunny.  And the leaves on the trees were really amazing.

Our final viewpoint was at Peak (aka Copper) Mountain.  From here, you can look south along the ridge and see Talcott Mountain and the Heublein Tower in the distance.

Talcott Mountain in the distance.

Thank you to the folks of the East Granby Land Trust for inviting me to join them.  I had a great time and look forward to future hikes together.

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