Day Hike Notes – Aspetuck Valley Trail

Aspetuck Valley Trail, Connecticut

Shade, rocks, roots, twisted trunks

The most memorable part of this local hike was my logistics. I “spotted” a bike near the end of the route and rode it back to my car when the hike was done. This was a first for me. I suspect my bike would have been safe anyway, but I locked it to a tree and felt sure no one would be interested in my old, dirty helmet left hanging from its handlebars. As mentioned below, I made a couple of changes to my usual hiking gear to make bike-riding more comfortable afterward. The logistics worked well and I’ll certainly use them again. As for the bike ride, it was a breeze, especially the long downhill on Route 58! The Aspetuck Valley Trail itself is a pretty outing that fits a lot of variety into its 6.9 miles.

DATE: Sunday, August 11th.
START: Southern trailhead, Route 58, Easton CT (GPS 41.282006, -73.341421). There is a pull-off to park just south.
FINISH: Northern trailhead, Collis P Huntington State Park, Newtown/Redding CT (GPS 41.346706, -73.345383).
ROUTE: Aspetuck Valley Trail (AVT) north.
DISTANCE: 7.8 miles (the AVT is 6.9 miles; I repeated the final 0.9 to get back to my bike).
TIME: 3½ hours excluding bike ride (7:30am to 11:00am).
TERRAIN: Gentle woodland trails with modest ups and downs; a mile of broad, flat track; a very short road-walk; a residential lane.
MAP: Not necessary, but the trailhead kiosks provide maps.

WEATHER: Cloudless. A cool start (50s), warming to 70s.
WILDLIFE: A bird of prey of some sort cruising the canopy.

BREAKFAST: Half a bagel in the car, half sat on a rock with the hike half-done.
LUNCH: Back at home.
UPS: Cool, sunshiny woods early on.
DOWNS: Meeting a group of fat-tire cyclists hurtling down a trail they shouldn’t have been on.
KIT: I walked in lighter boots than usual to make pedaling easier after the hike. I wore convertible pants so I could hike in longs but pedal in shorts. Surprisingly for mid-August, I wore a second layer (for the first 1½ miles).
COMPANY: None apart from DOWNS.

THE HIKE IN PICTURES:

Taking a Hike – The Little River

The Little River breaches a stone wall

The Little River in Centennial Watershed State Forest, Redding CT

I have written about hikes in Redding, CT before. September 2014’s column (“Redding Trails”) was entirely about the town’s excellent hiking opportunities. Other columns have touched on Redding:

March 2014 – the Aspetuck Valley Trail
January 2015 – Saugatuck Falls
June 2015 – the Ives Trail, which starts – or perhaps finishes – in Redding.

The September 2014 column introduced Redding’s “The Book of Trails”. I wrote:

“The Book of Trails” divides its walks among three watersheds (Aspetuck, Little River, Saugatuck) and what it calls the West Ridge …. Early this month I took hikes in two of these divisions, putting the Little River and Saugatuck watersheds aside for now. It’s important to leave loose ends like that, for next time.

Well, this month I tied up another of those loose ends by taking hikes in the Little River watershed. Though I took them on March 3rd and 7th, these outings were snow and ice free. This was a noticeable contrast with my Aspetuck Valley walk exactly two years ago. Back then, the trails “were covered in hardened snow; slippery here, potholed with fossilized footprints there”.

So, a wide variety of trails in Redding, and each one different by season, and each season different each year. Hard to get bored.

“Taking a Hike” on the Little River can be found at The Hour and Hersam Acorn Newspapers.

Little River swamp, Redding CT

Swamp beside the Little River

Taking a Hike – The Ives Trail

Ives Trail in Tarrywile Park

Ives Trail in Tarrywile Park

My “Taking a Hike” column for June describes an adventure on the Ives Trail. I think the word “adventure” applies; most of the trail was new to me, it was physically demanding, and much of the hike was figuratively – sometimes literally – off the beaten track.

The Ives Trail is not a scenic extravaganza, at least not from beginning to end. There were suburban intrusions here and there – a couple of junked cars, wire fences running through the woods, the drone of chippers. But the trail led to some surprising places. I liked in particular the deep, cool, boulder-strewn canyon between Thomas and Moses mountains. The sections over Wooster and Pine mountains are beautiful, as are some stretches in Tarrywile Park. Bennett’s Pond is a fine finale.

You can find the column at The Hour (The ups and downs of Ives Trail) and Hersam Acorn (The Ives Trail: No stroll in the park!). Enjoy.

March’s column – a snowbound Sleeping Giant – is now available in full on this site (via the Taking a Hike tab – 2015: “Mar – Sleeping Giant” – or by clicking here).

Taking a Hike – Treading Redding

Rock Lot & Scott Preserve, Redding CT - Warrups Rock, named for Indian leader Chickens Warrups.

Rock Lot & Scott Preserve, Redding CT – Warrups Rock, named for Indian leader Chickens Warrups.

“Taking a Hike”, my monthly column, was published last week. After New York’s Catskills in July and Vermont’s mountains in August, September’s column is local – the town of Redding CT. Local, but far from familiar. I’ve written about two walks, and less than ten miles of trail, all new to me. There are at least 50 more miles of Redding trails to explore, all attractively set out in the town’s The Book of Trails. I plan to hit as many as possible. Anyway, please enjoy the column either at The Hour or Hersam-Acorn Arts & Leisure.

June’s “Taking a Hike” is now available in full on this site (via the Taking a Hike tab – 2014: “June – Spring Miscellany” – or by clicking here).