August 28, 2018
We got an early start just after dawn and without cooking breakfast because it was so buggy at our tentsite!
We soon came to a view of our future, an overlook of the Farmington River. From our precipice, we looked down on the small town of Tarriffville. We speculated about the origins of the name, spying on a landing on the opposite side of the river. “This would be a perfect vantage point for invaders to signal each other about boats approaching the town!” And, “This must have been the place where tarriffs originated!” We add “Tarriffville” to our growing list of places inviting further research and start our descent to the river.
September 1, 2018
Today’s 15 miles took us through a diverse tour of habitats and popular hiking areas, continuing our mostly eastward “noodling” through the green spaces near Meriden.
We got off from Johnson’s Inn by 8 a.m. and walked through the neighborhood starting on Spruce Brook Road, turning where the blue blazes seemed to guide us into someone’s backyard where men were hovering over a vehicle, talking loudly. We stayed our course, though, and followed the path behind houses, onto another street, then back onto an overgrown road beyond a guardrail. “We’ll go where the blazes lead! I guess this is it!” We remarked.
August 27, 2018
Soon after we got started, we reached the bog bridging the farmer at Calabrese Farm Store had told us about. It was, indeed, a significant project, and a welcome dry crossing of the bog!
Just a short way south, we came to a small road with residences. The trail followed a wide green swath of mowed grass lined with a vegetation fence to our right. It looked to me like the landowner had created a clear easement for the trail, complete with a signed parking area at the road junction. The kiosk there displayed a map with Trail Section #1 to our north. That would mean that Connecticut was just across this road! Well, almost!
August 23, 2018
We got an early start from our hidden tentsite, soon reaching a sign that said “Queen Street”. I saw only trail, so didn’t know what Queen Street meant. We were getting near Amherst. Maybe Queen Street left town and kept going into the forest. A good question there!
The forest seemed typically New England, with lots of mushrooms, birch trees, ferns and northern flowers. I took a few “typical forest” shots.
Here’s a link to an album of mushroom photos taken today. There are so many mushrooms!
August 20, 2018
The nearby chuch bell chimed the hour all through the night. I heard it each hour except 2, so I must have slept soundly at least a couple of hours. At 6 bells we started to get up. The morning woods was quiet, peaceful, and tingling with life! Even though we weren’t supposed to be there, I felt that we were honoring the forest by being there reverently, protectively.
We descended gently down from Little Grace Mountain past Bass Swamp and Bass Road. A quaint, handpainted sign laid out our day. We were aiming for Farley and beyond, 15 miles south.
September 3, 2018
Today’s walk was truly a winding down to the finish. It looked like we had finally walked ourselves out of the rock outcrops that had given us our views and our callouses. The trail skirted bouldery hills, simply following old roads between them. We were low on water and the marked stream in the guidebook was dry. At Rt 80, after walking through Cockaponset State Forest, we decided to take a chance on getting water from upcoming Upper Guliford Lake Reiter than walk a half mile down the road, off-trail, to get water from a hotel.
September 2, 2018
We got an early start from our tent site a couple miles south of Rt. 66 on Beseck Mountain. Our first section was through Powder Ridge Ski Resort. Our first clue that we were getting close to it were two 6 ft square vinyl tumbling mats lying in the trail. One was beneath a pole lashed across the trail between two trees about 8 feet up. We had no idea what it was for! Just up ahead, though, a side trail marked with caution tape and a trailbike route sign have us our answer. The ski resort has bike routes too! It was 8 a.m. on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so we were glad there was no bike event there that day!
August 30, 2018
We enjoyed our luxurious hotel stay until 10 a.m., with breakfast, of course! I did eat a Belgian waffle, reasoning that its wheaty flouriness would be digested during my day’s exercise before it’s damage could be done, or some similar version of denial. Considering the number of cliffs we walked up and down today, there’s a good chance that actually happened!
The Metacomet Ridge, the geologic formation that the trail traverses, is composed of hard, broken up shards and columns of basalt. It’s very hard and sharp. There are miles and miles of jutting boulders of it. The trail designers are giving us a thorough tour of each knob of it! Today’s your took us up and around a popular area called Ragged Mountain. Its name suggests how we walked. The route makes short and steep ups and downs, using the basalt chunks as steps. I am getting a thorough testing of Regina’s Meet the Mountains technique for stamina and perserverance! Each step, literally each step requires focus and concentration for safe execution! One of my great achievements of this walk has been to be uninjured so far!
August 31, 2018
If I had only one word to sum up today, it would be “pleasant.” Here are ways it was pleasant on my walk today:
We started the day at Stephanie’s house playing with her two young daughters and getting to know Stephanie. We had met briefly on the Appalachian Trail, probably in 2014, but none of us know exactly where. Funny, I had a “distinct memory” of meeting her at a hostel in Vermont. According to her, she never went there, and wasn’t even on the trail the year of my memory! Her offer to pick us up from the trail yesterday evening gave us the chance to meet each other in a memorable way! We pitched our tent in her back yard. See if you can find it among the yard objects in this photo!
August 29, 2018
We got up at 6 a.m. to get on the trail before the predicted heat sapped our energy. We didn’t set a destination because we didn’t know how we would do. Our first challenge was to navigate the half mile roadwalk on Rt 185 from Paul’s AirBnB back to the trailhead. Yesterday, on our road walk from his house to Wade’s Farm Store, I had experimented with signaling to drivers to give me space on the shoulder. I gave a downward wave, trying to communicate “Slow down” and “Move over”at the same time. It seemed to work, as fewer cars crossed over the sideline and some did slow down. That seemed to work again this morning, giving the commuters to Hartford a wake-up signal and us a way to survive the walk. Only once did I jump off the edge into the vegetation on the side! We made it! And onto the trail at 7:02.