Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mica Ledges and Pyramid Rock: In Search of Cicadas

Pyramid Rock
If you like lots of giant boulders covered with moss and ferns, as well as some great vistas, this hike is for you.  This was an impulse hike for me. My real goal was to encounter the tail end of the famous 17-year cicadas, which I've never experienced before, and which only occur in a few parts of the state. Guilford/Branford and the Metacomet Ridge was supposed to be a hotspot, so I threw my gear in the car and went driving around with my window down listening for the roar of cicadas. I drove to the various trailhead parking areas and all I heard was crickets. Disappointed, I switched to Plan 'B' and headed for Mica Ledges in Durham, the next leg of the NET. 

I parked at the end of Cream Pot Road, where some new houses are being built, and followed the blue blazes of the Mattabesett Trail southbound.  Where the trail intersected with the red trail of Mice Ledges, there was a big rock that could only be the Pyramid. I turned south onto the red trail. It was not the only massive boulder, there were several others covered in moss and polypody ferns along the red trail, but the shape was distinctive. 
Exploring a cave formed by two boulders.
 It was a beautiful park, nice and peaceful on a weekday, except for a very annoying mechanical sound coming from the new houses under construction. Sort of a like a compressor turning on and off, over and over, and I couldn't seem to get away from the sound. 
"Ha Ha I'm taller than you!"
 The red trail eventually swung down a steep hill, and I suddenly realized the annoying mechanical noise was coming from two completely new directions through the forest. Wha??  I knew I had never heard this noise before... maybe it was an insect of some kind. What loud and repetitive insect had I never heard before in Connecticut?  The light bulb went off, and I used my Droid then and there to find recordings of a single 17-year cicada, rather than a chorus of cicadas. And that was it. I had found the cicadas after all, and they sounded nothing like I expected. Irony. After that, I wanted to get a recording of the sound with my camera, but they were too far away in the distance. But this is what it sounded like

Pond on the red trail
The trail brushed past a pond and more big boulders, then headed uphill to the ridgetop called Mica Ledges, where it ended in a "T" with the blue-blazed Mattabesett.  From that point all the way back to Pyramid Rock the hike consisted of a series of gorgeous views from bare exposures of bedrock. 

Views along the Mica Ledges
View from Mica Ledges
Yarrow blooming along the Mica Ledges
The Ledges are formed from a very tough pegmatite. 
And yes, there is mica. 

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