Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Arrives at Giuffrida Park

Rue Anemone
Spring is here and the wildflowers are blooming!  I returned to the New England Trail after being away on vacation (by the way, I can say the mountains in Virginia are seasonally our match - the same species were in bloom there).

View from Mt. Lamentation towards Castle Craig
A fairly quick hike up Lamentation Mountain gives the expected great views, and this day was nice and clear.
Early Saxifrage - top of Mt. Lamentation
Most of the wildflowers I saw were down by the lake, but there were a few species that prefer the dry hilltop.

Yellow Corydalis - top of Lamentation Mt.

Building below Castle Craig

What is that big white building half way up the hill and, if they had to build there, why couldn't they make the building the color of traprock?

Quiet up above, busy down below
The view towards Hartford was nice and clear. 

Hartford to the right, Mt Tom in Massachusetts is in the far distance to the left (click to enlarge)
I could see Mt Tom off in the distance, about 45 miles way.  The New England Trail is heading right for it. You will have to click on the photo to see it.

Vernal pool 
There was a small vernal pool on the side of Mt. Lamentation with a really low water level.  It's a very dry spring. It was filled with wood frog tadpoles and lots of egg masses.

Amphibian eggs and a wood frog tadpole
The eggs are probably either wood frogs or spotted salamanders. Both species breed in pools like this one, but live in the forest.

The "Tripping Tree"
Back down along the powerlines, according to local lore, this magnificent beech tree is called the "Tripping Tree."  It obviously matured in a pasture and it's horizontal limbs are so long they are now laying on the ground. Don't see that too often.

Round Lobed Hepatica
More wildflowers.  Hepatica is one of my favorites.

Lava Pillow
Not far from the Tripping Tree is an outcrop of trap rock with some interesting structures that look like lava pillows. If you don't know what a lava pillow is, look at this picture of a modern day lava pillow. When lava is ejected under water, it tends to form these structures because the lava cools before it can level out.  That would mean there was a lake here when the lava oozed out.

Crescent Lake
The trail along the lake is blazed blue.  Normally, that would not be a problem, except that the map clearly shows the trail as being blazed white, and there is another blue trail (the NET- Mattabesett) running parallel to this blue trail just a few hundred feet away.  Also, it's "CFPA blue", that certain special shade of light blue we all know and love and reserve for trails that are part of the CT blue-blazed trail system.   Did someone mess up when they were painting the trail blazes?  Because this trail should most certainly be white. The map even states in writing that the trail is blazed white.  At any rate, this confusion has presented me with the need to go back up Chauncey to find something I missed a few weeks ago. I take the "other" blue trail along the shoreline.

Spicebush in bloom
The excursion brings me to an area with a high concentration of blooming wildflowers at the north end of the lake.

Dutchman's Breeches

Spring Beauties 

Trout Lily

Red Trillium (aka Purple Trillium)

Bloodroot sheltered in a blowdown

Wood Anemone

View from Chauncey
And we're back up on Chauncey for a brief time. Great views!

Canal feeding Crescent Lake
There's a canal that runs between Chauncey and Mt. Lamentation apparently used to feed water into the reservoir, although it wasn't feeding much water today.

Wicked talus slope, Chauncey
I took a rough trail, sort of blazed white, back along the east shore of the lake.  Since the lake is at the bottom of  talus slope below the Chauncey cliffs, it was quite rough and trekking poles much appreciated. I don't know how those trees in that photo managed to grow in this rock.

Red maple flowering at sunset
The maples were really flowering.  Here's a red maple in full bloom (not to be confused with the Japanese Maple, the one that is red all summer).
Time to get back to the car! 

A great thing about spring hiking is all the daylight:  I was able to hike until 7:30.  When I started this blog, I had to be back to my car by 4:30! In winter, the combination of cold and approaching darkness keeps you on move. This day I was relaxed and lingering everywhere to enjoy the sights.


  1. Love the red maple photo...and the egg masses. Good to see amphibians are still doing their thing.

  2. Thanks for all the pics and names of the wildflowers. Many of these we have seen on our hikes but didn't know what they were called.