For nearly all of our hike down from Massachusetts, Katie and I were never off the Metacomet Ridge for long. Sure, it disappeared here and there; but sooner or later we were walking along the traprock ridge again. This continuity was broken on this, our tenth hike. From Bluff Head, the Metacomet Ridge runs southwest as Totoket Mountain and Saltonstall Ridge. The New England Trail, in contrast, heads pretty much due south. It led us into woodland; undulating, but without the uniting presence of the long ridge. Even so, it was some of the most attractive land we had hiked through, and it went by evocative, even enigmatic names – Broomstick Ledges, The Genesee, Cockaponset forest. Long Island Sound is now a half-day’s hike away.
DATE: Friday, November 4th
START: Route 77, Guilford
FINISH: Willow Road, Guilford
ROUTE: Mattabesett/NET for 1.5 miles, then the NET alone (the Mattabesett turns northeast to reach the Connecticut River in 27 miles).
DISTANCE: 10.5 miles.
ACCUMULATED DISTANCE: 103.5 miles (excluding side trails and wrong turns).
TIME: 5.75 hours (8:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
TERRAIN: Easier with every mile south; a short, steep climb to Broomstick Ledges, then gentle ups, downs and levels.
MAP: AMC/CFPA New England Trail Map & Guide.
WEATHER: Near perfect; mostly sunny with a high of 59 degrees.
WILDLIFE: A bird of prey or two.
BREAKFAST: Coffee and bagel at Little Store, Guilford.
LUNCH: The usual stuff, sat on a boulder beside Upper Guilford Lake.
UPS: Spectacular fall woods.
DOWNS: None at all.
KIT: I forgot my poles, did not miss them, but hope my knees won’t suffer later.
COMPANY: Given the beautiful day, fall colors, and gentle country, very, very little apart from Katie.