[Connecticut’s Metacomet Trail runs 62 miles from the Massachusetts line at Suffield to the Hanging Hills north of Meriden. It is now a segment of the 215-mile New England Trail (Long Island Sound to New Hampshire). My daughter and I hope to section-hike the Metacomet Trail this year, and perhaps continue south to the Sound, if we have time and energy.]
Although the Metacomet Trail is nowhere far from human settlement, our third section brought us right alongside the Hartford conurbation, and I’d wondered what this would mean for the feel of our hike. There was no denying the intrusion of the unnatural – woods cleared for powerlines, woods cleared for underground pipelines, the difficult crossing of Route 44, graffiti-daubed Kilkenny Rock. I suspect there will be more of this on the coming sections in Farmington and Plainville, which cross more suburbs and busy routes (including I-84). But our third section also had compensations – fine westerly views from Talcott Mountain State Park/King Phillip Mountain, a peaceful reservoir-side stroll, quiet woods. With luck, the next sections will have rewards too.
DATE: Friday, April 8th.
START: Penwood State Park entrance, Rte 185, Bloomfield-Simsbury line.
FINISH: Old Mountain Road, Farmington.
ROUTE: Metacomet Trail south.
DISTANCE: 9.8 miles.
TIME: 5 hours (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Easy to moderate. A 600-foot climb to King Phillip Mountain and Heublein Tower, followed by an equal descent to Hartford Reservoir No. 6. Then a flat waterside stroll followed by ups and downs on the 4.2-mile section south of Route 44.
MAP: AMC/CFPA New England Trail Map & Guide.
WEATHER: Clouds and sun; cool (40s); breezy on ridge; even a little hail/ice.
WILDLIFE: Wild turkeys, a fishing heron (I think).
BREAKFAST: Brookside Bagels, Simsbury.
LUNCH: Cheese sandwiches on olive bread, on boulders somewhere in the West Hartford woods.
UPS: The whole outing was a real blower-away of cobwebs.
DOWNS: Quite a few powerlines and pipelines, and the section south of Kilkenny Rock in particular was anything but scenic.
KIT: Loving my new Osprey reservoir.
COMPANY: Occasional dog-walkers, hikers, mountain bikers.