Monday, October 22, 2012

Suffield Mountain

Last official section of the New England Trail in Connecticut!  Don't get too excited, though, because there's a demoted section of trail after this that will be the "real" end for me. It's also the last gasp of fall, at least in northern Connecticut. Great timing!

This was a long drive for me, about an hour and a half, and involved a moment of confusion when the Droid took me into Massachusetts. Wha? And then it dawned on me that I was driving through that little piece of land that Massachusetts stole from us, you know, the part that juts down into Connecticut.  And just like that all the plates were Mass plates.  I wondered if the people here pronounce their R's.

Another chimney
Before long the road swung back into Connecticut and I found a small pull-off  to park the car on Phelps Road near the intersection with Rt 168. A sign announced the land as Spencer Woods and the blue blazes headed quickly up the hill.

I believe there is an error in the CT Walkbook with regard to the distances on this mountain. According to the mileage given, it's 4.0 miles to the town line via Copper Mountain, but only 1.2 miles to the town line via Suffield Mountain, yet the town line is nearly halfway between the two trailheads.  I believe it is 2.2 miles, or slightly longer, to the town line from Suffield Mountain, but only 2.5 to 3.0 miles to the town line via Copper Mountain.

Shortly after beginning the hike, there is a well-worn but unmarked path on the left that leads quickly to yet another chimney. This one had some sort of seats built around it, but was pretty overgrown.  A bit further on there is a big routered sign for the George A. Harmon woodlot (which would explain the dense new undergrowth and rotting stumps), and a trail heading down the slope that was once blazed orange. They probably used cheap spray paint, because the blazes are nearly gone.

Now you know where you are.
And in less that two miles of hiking along the ridge there's a beautiful overlook accompanied by a mysterious sign informing you of the latitude and longitude, as well as a bench and a trail logbook.

Trail logbooks are fun. Sort of like letterbox logbooks but without the rubber stamps or the need to actually find the logbook, which means that everyone can sign it, not just those of us who have joined the cult. This book was nicely maintained and just full of signatures.

Trail logbook

Pages and pages of this stuff.

A beautiful view!

Heublein Tower in the distance.

Another balloon
After the overlook, it was just another 15 minutes of hiking to the town line, where I left off on my previous trip. I did manage to find yet another balloon on the trail. It was a wedding balloon, high up on Suffield Mountain.

I got back to the car at 2:45 pm and that's where I had planned on leaving off for the day. From the intersection of Phelps Road and Rt 168, the trail sadly follows the road for about 2 1/2 miles to Massachusetts and the Metacomet-Monadnock portion of the New England Trail.  Because I'm just a day hiker and not doing the road walks, this should end the Connecticut portion of the New England Trail for me.  It doesn't. There are two more miles of demoted trail that will take me within a quarter mile of the border. And rather than drive home as I had planned, I set out to finish the job and find what for me is the 'real' end of the trail. But that will be another post.

1 comment:

  1. I have hiked in from Route 20 a couple of times, and then in July, I hiked South from Phelps Road. I never made it to the log book and I was probably so close. Next time I am going to have a friend go with me so we can leave a car at one end and hike to the other.

    I had looked at the Walk Book and was confused. Aren't there some lookouts that are marked as facing east (toward the airport)? I was expecting to come across at least one and didn't and couldn't figure out where I was in relation to what the walk book said. Like I said, next time I will plan to hike from one end to the other, so I will be able to figure it out.

    I've really enjoyed your posts. Thanks!