9 Section Hikes
While I have a very long way to go to complete the Blue Trails Challenge/CT400, finishing up with my first of the longer CFPA trails leaves me with both a sense of satisfaction and an odd feeling of sadness. Not sadness like sadness when your dog dies, but sadness in the sense that I no longer have any of the Mattabesset ahead of me to get excited about. Some of you will know what I mean, but most won’t.
A friend of mine, Karl, who is planning on completing his Blue Trails Challenge soon wrote to me at the beginning of my adventure that he was envious of me because I had so much ahead of me still. And I certainly still do, there’s no doubt about that. But not the Mattabesset.
As I wrote several times in my hike reports, I was consistently surprised by this trail. For some reason, I didn’t have high expectations for it at all. Perhaps because I thought I was familiar with the region and/or I knew I wouldn’t be climbing any high peaks. Sure there are road walks, and yes there are an unfortunate number of abandoned cars and a few property access issues, but in the end, I loved this trail.
It’s truly amazing how remote parts of the trail feel when in reality, I don’t think I was ever more than a mile from a road and houses. The plentiful parking areas from which to jump on the trail make it accessible for everyone and the various loop options in Meriden, Middletown, Madison and Guilford are definite bonuses. On top of that, the relatively easy hiking this trail affords (often with great scenic payoffs) really makes this worth at least a day hike for everyone in the state.
So get out and get up Higby, Chauncey, Mica Ledges, Bluff Head and Bear Hill. You won’t regret it.