This hike is not for beginners. This is the last in a series of section hikes traversing the Connecticut portion of the Metacomet Trail from North to South. It is likely there will be plenty of snow on the trails - so be prepared with gaiters at a minimum and you will likely need micro-spikes and poles.
This hike will be well over 7 miles of moderate hiking but will take twice as long with the snow on the ground. The group will meet at the end of the trail head and car pool to the beginning. We will then hike back to the cars and make arrangements to pick up the cars that were left at the start.
As usual, we ask for suggestions for the apres-hike get-together. If anyone knows the area and has a suggestion, please post it to the group.
Also remember, WE TAKE PHOTOS! Anyone in the witness protection program should plan on coming in disguise. All others can look forward to having their pictures posted soon after the hike. Take a look at our past hikes to see how much fun we've had!
Section 9 – Hanging Hills and Crooked Brook … The end of the Metacomet!
Distance: 7.7 miles
Terrain: Ascend the ridge-line then follow it to the summit of Hanging Hills. There are several views to the West and South from Castle Craig. After the summit the trail descends to Route 71 and makes its way back to the lot at Summit Woods. The trial continues on for another 1.4 miles to Kensington Road.
Pace: A moderate pace with breaks for water and views but the intent is to cover the distance.
When: 10AM Sunday January 6th, 2013. This is not the usual two week separation from the previous hike to appease the triskaidekaphobics.
Meeting location: We will meet in the parking lot located at the end of the cul-de-sac of Summit Wood Drive in Berlin CT. (NOTE: Although Google Maps shows Summit Wood drive to be a through street, aerial imagery shows it to be a dead end. You must access Summit Wood Drive from the north via Lindin Dr. Please do not blindly follow your GPS or you will end up lost on a dirt road) We will carpool and drive to the trail head.
Who to look for: Silver BMW.
Food and Drink: A snack and a quart of water. Plans can be discussed for an after hike lunch meeting location during the hike. Please bring nitrate-free pepperoni or vegan side dish.
Equipment: As we get into the colder months, we have to get serious about being prepared for the weather. First off, boots are a must. The trails are covered with leaves making it hard to see the hazards that can easily twist an ankle. Traction is also more important with wet leaves, mud, frost or frozen ground. If we have frost or light snow, micro spikes are a must. Bunny slippers are not required. As we've said before, cotton is not an acceptable on the trail. Jeans can get wet and never dry which sets you up for hypothermia and frost bite. Layers are also important. You will be building up a sweat on the ascents, and the facing wind chill on the summits. You must dress in layers and adjust for the conditions.
As always, we will follow the hike with an apres-hike lunch at a local establishment. We ask that anyone familiar with the area nominate a location that is near the start of the hike and is suitable for our group (ie; we will be fresh off the trail.) If you know of a nice place in the Kensington/Berlin area, feel free to post your suggestion to the group.
Background:The Metacomet Trail traverses the traprock Metacomet Ridge which extends from Long Island Sound to the Massachusetts/ Vermont border. This ridge, rising hundreds of feet above the Connecticut River, Farmington River, and Quinnipiac River valleys, is a prominent landscape feature of central Connecticut. From south to north, the trail uses the ridges of the Hanging Hills, Short Mountain, Ragged Mountain, Bradley Mountain, Pinnacle Rock, Rattlesnake Mountain, Farmington Mountain, Talcott Mountain, Hatchet Hill, Peak Mountain, and West Suffield Mountain. Abrupt vertical cliffs with visible talus slopes and frequent viewpoints are common throughout. Views are generally to the west from West Suffield Mountain south through Ragged Mountain; west and south in the Hanging Hills. The Farmington River cuts through the ridge line between Hatchet Hill and Talcott Mountain in the Tariffville Gorge (east of Simsbury). Historic features along the trail include Old Newgate Prison museum and copper mine in East Granby; Heublein Tower on Talcott Mountain with expansive view of four states; the Hill-Stead museum in Farmington, Connecticut, notable for its French impressionist painting collection and gardens; and Hubbard Park of the Hanging Hills of Meriden, designed with the help of famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. The trap rock ridges and talus slopes of the Metacomet Ridge are also home to several unique microclimate ecosystems that support species of plants that are unusual or endangered in this part of New England, and are a seasonal migration path for raptors. Views from the ledges include agrarian land, suburbs, small towns, river corridors, the eastern Berkshires ridge line, and metropolitan Meriden and Hartford.
Trail Map: http://www.ctxguide.com/ctxguide_232.htm
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