For me, so far, Connecticut’s 42-mile Mattatuck Trail has been a winter thing. Two years ago, the day after Christmas, I hiked the Trail’s most northwesterly section until it ended at the Mohawk Trail. A layer of crunchy snow made for strenuous going. A year later, my eldest and I walked the next section down and saw bear tracks in the December snow. These two hikes added up to 14½ miles of Mattatuck.
Those 14½ miles form a detached section of the Trail in the towns of Cornwall, Goshen, and Warren. Last weekend, I drove up to Litchfield to pick the Trail up again. At home, there was little enough snow on the ground; in Litchfield—further inland and higher up—the Mattatuck Trail was as white as ever.
The contiguous Mattatuck Trail resumes in White Memorial Conservation Center, six road-miles from the Warren trailhead of the detached northwest section. From White Memorial, the Trail runs uninterrupted southeast to Wolcott, all unfamiliar territory to me. But before I went to White Memorial, I took country lanes north of Bantam to Prospect Mountain Preserve. Here, a 1.7-mile fragment of Mattatuck Trail winds over Prospect Mountain. The view from the North Summit is narrowly framed, but the South Summit offers a broader panorama toward—I think—Mount Tom.
After lunch in Bantam, I went to White Memorial and worked off my pulled pork by hiking the Mattatuck Trail from Bissell Road to Route 63 and back—a 6-mile level trek through forest, pond, and swamp.