When I was reading up on this hike, I liked the idea of a long, steady ascent of a modest mountain. I liked that most of the ascent would pass through state forest. I was not so keen on the number of roads that the trail would use or cross.
Oh, how different the real world is from maps, especially out of date maps.
At first, the Mattatuck Trail was, barring a layer of snow, much as I expected. Then it reached where my map indicated a dirt road-walk. Instead, the trail swung off in another direction and meandered through woods – very beautiful woods in patches. When the trail used Camp Road for a half-mile, it was as quiet as a path, and pleasant relief from walking on snow (ice is easier, as long as you have spikes).
I followed the blue Mattatuck Trail blazes dutifully all the way to the top of the Mohawk Mountain ski runs (in use). But on the return journey, I cut corners using those roads I had not been keen on. Even on those open to traffic, there was hardly a car.
This was likely my last long hike of 2016. Great that it exceeded expectations.
DATE: Monday, December 26th.
START & FINISH: Flat Rocks Road, Cornwall, CT.
ROUTE: Mattatuck Trail north to where it ends at the Mohawk Trail.
DISTANCE: Something over 12 miles roundtrip.
TIME: 6.25 hours (7:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Easy to moderate topography, but a layer of crunchy snow made for a strenuous hike. Dirt road sections were very icy. Hike gains 600 feet from trailhead to Mohawk Mountain summit (1,683’).
MAP: From the CFPA’s Connecticut Walk Book West, now out of print and out of date for this section. Trail well blazed though.
WEATHER: Sunny until 11:00, then overcast. It began to rain as I neared the finish line. Cold at first and on summits.
WILDLIFE: Lots of tracks in the snow, distorted by thaw and refreeze.
BREAKFAST: Bagel and coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, New Milford.
LUNCH: A sandwich, split between Cunningham Tower and Mohawk Pond.
UPS: Some fine woodland, ponds, and swamps; the views from Mohawk summit.
DOWNS: My phone – and therefore camera – announcing one hour into the hike that its battery was going flat (it survived at 4% for the remaining five hours, but I used it economically).
KIT: Microspikes essential.
COMPANY: All alone on the way out; a few walkers on the return leg.