This was a strenuous dash up Bear Mountain and back (yes, 13 miles in 7 hours can be a dash). It wasn’t planned that way, but we hadn’t expected the Appalachian Trail still to be mostly covered in snow and ice on the southern approach. We had to keep moving to have any chance of finishing in the allotted time (“allotted time” is generally not a good tool for hikers, but there you go). I was hiking with Bert Schwarz, a fellow Appalachian Mountain Club’er. We got acquainted at an AMC hike leadership training session at the Sleeping Giant last spring, and agreed that the hiking in northwest Connecticut is the best in the area. We’re planning to co-lead an AMC group hike somewhere near Bear Mountain – but only when the snow and ice are well and truly gone. July 4th?
Date: Friday March 28th
Start & Finish: A.T. trailhead on CT Route 41, 0.75 miles north of Salisbury.
Route: Appalachian Trail, there and back.
Distance: 12 mi (13 mi with our wrong turn).
Time: 7 hrs (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Terrain: 1,600 foot elevation gain, achieved with short steep sections and longer “level” bits. Abundant snow and – worse – treacherous ice still on the trail.
Maps: Official AT Guide map (Four – Jug End to Cornwall Bridge)
Weather: Rain on and off. Icy rain and wind on summits; bone-chilling.
Wildlife: Nothin’. We joked that any bear poking his head out of the den would say “I’m going back to bed for a while!”.
Photos: Just the one in this post for now – on Bear Mountain, 2,316 feet.
Breakfast: Coffee and bagel (plain with Swiss), J.P. Gifford, Kent.
Lunch: Manchego baguette with olives plus assorted trail food, first on the summit and then at Brassie Brook lean-to on the way down.
– Good company, plenty of chat.
– A lot of “natural Prozac” (Bert’s name for endorphins).
– Wrong turning near the end, just when my energy was evaporating. The A.T. makes a sharp left after Lions Head. We barreled straight ahead for 10 minutes instead, then had to climb all the way back.
– Boot chains (“yaktrax”) or microspikes essential.
– Cotton t-shirt layer was a bad idea; it got wet and stayed cold.
Company: Bert, then 3 guys and a dog we passed just below the summit.