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(59) PACIFIC CREST TRAIL – October 2017
Books and, even more, movies put places on the map. Remember how Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods popularized the Appalachian Trail when it was published in 1998? Robert Redford and Nick Nolte then repeated the trick when they ineptly hit the trail for the screen version two years ago. Author Cheryl Strayed and actress Reese Witherspoon did something similar for the Pacific Crest Trail with Wild, the 2012 bestseller that became a 2014 movie.
(58) HUNTER MOUNTAIN – September 2017
I don’t have a fear of heights. At least, that’s what I thought, until I met the fire tower atop Hunter Mountain. Now, there’s nothing dizzying about Hunter Mountain itself. At 4,050 feet, its summit is the second highest in the Catskills, but it’s flat and cliffless, covered in dense spruce-fir forest. It’s utterly undramatic and viewless — unless you climb the tower!
(57) PEOPLES STATE FOREST – August 2017
What is your favorite Connecticut state park? Readers of this column will likely have one. Sherwood Island for a stroll beside the Sound? Maybe Sleeping Giant for a hair-raising scramble up a huge traprock head? For me, it’s the secluded wooded valley and enveloping hills of Macedonia Brook west of Kent.
Now, what about your favorite state forest? Harder. State forests don’t get much hiker recognition. We walk the Appalachian Trail, not thinking about Housatonic State Forest which it passes through. If we hike at Squantz Pond, we may forget that the woods there belong to a forest called Pootatuck. My column this month will give pride of place to a state forest and make the bold claim that it contains one of Connecticut’s very best views. Here we go.