After 2 hot, busy, and “urban” weeks on the East Coast, I decided that this weekend called for a dose of wilderness (insofar as that is possible in the tiny and hyper-developed state of Connecticut). Lucky for me, a Californian (P) that I met at an orientation event had expressed an interest in exploring the great outdoors and was even willing to plan a 1 night expedition for us.
Our first stop was the REI in Hartford to pick up (1) a trail map/guide to the AT (Appalachian Trail), (2) a tarp (just in case!), and (3) a silk sleeping bag liner for me to use in the absence of a sleeping bag (somehow I forgot to pack one in BC and I don’t have the liquid capital to buy a new one at the moment).
After that we headed North and then West to the very upper left-hand corner of the state (past the town of Canaan) where the AT cuts across from New York to Massachusetts. From there we cut up the Undermountain Trail, linked over to the Paradise Lane Trail until that liked up with the AT going East. After a short trek down the AT, we arrived at the Massachusetts border (not well-marked… don’t even bother looking for it) and the Sages Ravine campsite. Because the hike was actually rather short, we arrived early and had plenty of time to claim a tent platform (glamping!) and head down to the stream for a quick swim (nice for washing off but quite cold and not overly deep) and to pump some water.
Dinner was a surprisingly palatable bowl of Chicken and Risoto and some super tasty astronaut ice-cream (mint chocolate chip!). It was really nice to have a warm meal before catching some shut-eye and I was grateful for the fact that P carries his own camp-stove (not something I have invested in, yet).
We got up fairly early the next morning and made out way back up the AT to the nearby Bear Mountain (the highest summit in CT at a whopping 2323ft (708m)). Note: for comparison – that is the same elevation as the Stawamus Chief… but Bear Mtn. feels more like a big hill than a mountain. Still, the hike West from Sages Ravine to Bear Mountain is enjoyably tough and involves lots of scrambling over sheer-ish rock faces in the sun & humidity (just take my word on the enjoyable part).
We arrived back at the car in good time and made our way out of the North West, heading back towards New Haven (and the promise of another hot meal after a fairly mediocre breakfast of granola. Hot and a bit sweaty from our hike, we decided to pull over at a state park and take a drip in the appealingly sun-drenched waters of Dunn Pond. Unfortunately we were not prepared for the high entry cost (15$ for out-of-state license plates!). Sill, it was nice to freshen up before driving the last hour into New Haven (navigating using only a paper state map as both of our cell-phones had died at this point). We grabbed lunch at a Thai restaurant in New Haven and P dropped me off at my front door.
And here I sit. Sleepy, bug-bitten, emotionally and physically refreshed, and happy to have finally experienced a part of Connecticut that felt just a bit like home.