Update 2: Reed Gap/CT68 to Hallmere Reservoir/Edgewood Rd

Day 3: (Saturday June 17th) 16.9mi/27.2km

Reed Gap/CT68 (33.4) to Snow Hill (50.3)

For this section, I planned my logistics and parking better. I drove to the starting trailhead, parked legally, and planned to get an Uber back here Sunday afternoon. I stopped for lunch on the drive out, and got on trail around 1pm. It had been a month since I was last here, and everything was so much greener!

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I quickly gained a ridge, and occasionally had nice views. I could also see some wet-looking clouds moving in…

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It was very humid and warm, so I was defintely looking sweaty.

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Sometimes the views were just down into the suburbs below. Connecticut seems to do a terrible job at protecting open space.

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After a couple miles, I hiked across the top of a small local ski hill called Powder Ridge.

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Ski lifts always seem so creepy in the summertime. It kinda reminded me of a zombie movie scene.

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I always appreciate a puns and clever names, though!

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The views got better as I progressed north, with more fields and forests.

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I believe this little body of water was Black Pond, just before the trail dropped down off the ridge to cross a highway.

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The trail literally passed right thru the parking lot of a local diner, Guida’s. I just had lunch 3 hours ago, but I couldn’t resist temptation.

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Hmm. Surprisingly, I found a business that still, in 2017, only accepted cash. What could I buy for $5? I took it as a sign to follow the arrow to the side window…

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Ice cream and snapple! My two favorite trail treats.

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After waiting out a quick 15 minute rain shower at the diner, I continued on down the trail. Everything was a little muddy, but I saw zero other people all afternoon.

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An hour later, I met a deer who was not shy. It just stood there, 20 feet away, in a staring contest.

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Then, the deer got tired of waiting for me to move on, and went back to eating. It was so fascinating to watch! Eventually I moved on, and the trail treated me to more views, though a little obscured by low clouds. I was a little surprised to see a strip mine across the valley, I didn’t think Connecticut had any valuable minerals.

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This flower smelled just like cinnamon rolls. I wonder it’s name?

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Late in the afternoon, I crossed interstate 91, which basically parallels this trail up the Connecticut river valley.

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Then I ducked back into the serenity of the woods, and took a nice break at the Highland Pond Preserve.

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The NET uses blue blazes to mark the trail. And there were many junctions in this section, so I’m glad it was well marked!

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The trail travels a very rocky ridge above the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir. I was so engrossed by the views and watching my footing, I didn’t realize I had hiked past 7pm!

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After encircling the rocky southern half of the reservoir, I was treated to a nice smooth trail in a pine foreset. Heaven!

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I stopped at a scenic bench and made my dinner, as it was almost 8pm, and I was starving. It’s not quite a picnic table (which I love), but it would work!

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I had some lovely scenery from my dinner bench. Hearing the frogs across the water was very peaceful too.

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I had to keep hiking for another hour, to exit a “no camping” zone in this park. The NET would be a very difficult trail to thru-hike in one push, as camping options are so limited. It was getting darker…

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After about 15 minutes of night hiking, I was able to reach an area where I could camp.

 

Day 4: (Sunday June 18th) 13.1mi/21.1km

Snow Hill (50.3) to Hallmere Reservoir/Edgewood Rd (63.4)

The sun rises very early in June, so I was awake at 6:00am, and hiking on the trail by 6:30am.  This section of trail followed a stream through a low-lying area, and all the trees had these huge fungus shelves! Cool.

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After a mile, I exited the woods, and did the 3/4-mile roadwalk to a highway crossing. My phone needed a charge, so I stopped into an Irving convenience store for an hour and ate second breakfast. I was recording GPS tracks for this entire trail, and that process consumes battery power pretty quickly!  By 9am, I was charged enough, and hiked out. I followed paved country roads for another 45 minutes, which had almost no traffic on a Sunday morning. Finally, I re-entered the woods.

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The Merimere reservoir had this strange brick building sitting in it.

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I walked out on the short bridge, but everything was fenced off and locked, and no signs indicated what it was. A mystery!

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I enjoyed walking along the reservior for an easy mile, and then the trail started to climb UP.

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At the top of the very steep climb was East Peak. And it had a real, legit castle tower! So cool.

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It’s a 32-foot tall tower, on the summit of East Peak (976ft). It has the distinction of being the highest point within 25 miles of the coast, from Maine to Florida.

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There were lots of families up there on a weekend.

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I’d assume it normally has a spectacular view, but the day was very foggy.

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I walked away from the crowds of the castle and had lunch at a picnic area a half mile away. I had a nice afternoon of walking a wooded ridge, it didn’t have any viewpoints, but it was very relaxing. I forgot to take any photos until I had arrived at my finish trailhead! Oops.  I dispatched an Uber from the trailhead, and while I was waiting I noticed these ridiculously over-zealous “No Trespassing” signs.  Who is that tall?!

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My Uber arrived 10 minutes later (it’s suburban Connecticut!), and I was back at my car 30 minutes later. Despite having hiked 30 trail miles, I actually wasn’t that far from my car, since the trail is so meandering in this section.

I have two big trips planned for July – one to climb Mt Rainier (Washington), and another to hike the Wind River Range (Wyoming) – so I won’t be back on this trail until August. Goodbye for now, New England!

 

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