For many years now, I have hiked the same route on Black Friday (so called, by the way, because too many people go shopping instead of hiking). The route crosses the Saugatuck watershed in Easton and Weston CT. If you are interested in that hike, there is information for it here. But this year I broke with tradition. I was more in the mood for a mountain than a meander through Fairfield County woods. I thought of the Catskills or Taconics, but then the snow came just before the turkey, and I thought it would be stupid to drive for two hours just to find a mountain now made inaccessible. So, after some wavering, I compromised, and drove an hour to the little mountains of Macedonia Brook State Park. Little mountains, but still plenty of snow.
DATE: Friday, November 28th.
START & FINISH: Intersection of the Blue trail with Macedonia Brook Road, near the State Park’s southern entrance.
ROUTE: Anticlockwise around the Blue trail, plus a long detour and double-back after baulking at the slick clamber up Cobble Mountain’s northeast side. Detour took the Green, Orange, and White trails – plus an unmapped trail – to reach Cobble via the Blue trail from the south.
DISTANCE: Blue trail is a 6.4-mile circuit. The detour made my hike more like 8 miles.
TIME: 6 hours, more or less.
TERRAIN: Up and down steep, wooded hills. Some awkward scrambles. 6-9 inches of snow cover made everything slower and more difficult. I gave up the ascent of Cobble from the northeast (Blue trail) for lack of safe foot- and handholds.
MAPS: Available from CT Deep here.
WEATHER: Sunshine and clouds; light snow showers in the afternoon.
WILDLIFE: Just tracks in the snow.
BREAKFAST: McDonald’s in New Milford.
LUNCH: Thanksgiving turkey on rye. Walkers oatcakes (“bannocks”) carried across the Atlantic by my eldest daughter. Thanks, Katie!
– Patches of the purest ultramarine sky.
– “Winter” views of the Macedonia Brook valley.
– The cold air got to my lungs at first.
– Finding out that I had lost the White trail, and that even my detour was going to be longer than expected as a consequence.
KIT: I brought snowshoes, but left them in the car. They would have been useful at times, but a nuisance on steep, rocky sections.
COMPANY: Nobody at all, until a couple with three dogs five minutes from the end.