Thanksgiving 2014: Connecticut Peak Bagging

Thanksgiving morning I headed for the airport bright and early. After grabbing a spot in the second to the last row of the economy parking, I watched the sunrise from inside the DIA terminal and let myself feel a little bit sad that I wouldn’t be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with some coffee and Bailey’s. All things considered, I was super excited to be headed to see Lucy and Franz get married and have a bit of an adventure.

DIA sunrise

Adventure? In Connecticut?

Yeah, I’d decided since I was spending all the money on a plane ticket and rental car that I might as well create a bit of a challenge for myself. I decided that I would try to hit all eight Connecticut pseudo-county highpoints along with the wedding in the 48 hours I’d be in the state. (They’re pseudo-counties because Connecticut dissolved them as governing bodies in 1960.)

After landing at Bradley, I got my rental car and immediately headed for South Johnson Hill, the highpoint of Hartford county. I arrived at the trailhead around 6pm, donned my headlamp, put on my snowpants, and headed out for a dark and snowy walk. The quiet and peacefulness was really appreciated after a long day of travel. (Seriously, this post can be summarized as “snowy selfies.”)

Summit of South Johnson Hill

I’d been pretty lucky with my travel plans as the state had gotten pretty hammered with a big winter storm the day before. The storm had left a lot of people without power as trees lost branches. As I walked back to my car, I saw flashing lights near the trailhead. Initially, I was pretty sure that I was going to be ticketed for parking at the end of the road even though it was clearly plowed out as a trailhead parking area. Turns out it was just a power company truck fixing some lines.

As I drove towards the trailhead for Mt. Frissell, I started looking for food. At about 7pm on Thanksgiving night in rural Connecticut (and Massachusetts) I wasn’t really sure what I would find. Fortunately, I located a Dunkin’ Donuts and snacked on a bagel and cream cheese as I continued out to the trailhead. It occurred to me that there was a good chance that the snow would be more than I wanted to tackle without boots or snowshoes but I put the decision off until morning. Once I arrived at the trailhead, I crawled into the back of my rental car and got to sleep.

 

Car sleeping

In the morning, I got out of the car to investigate the conditions. It was a really hard decision to make but faced with four mile postholing hike without appropriate footwear when I had a wedding that promised a fair amount of awesome dancing coming up that night I decided it was best if I put aside my adventure goals to be sure I was more fresh for the real point of the trip: the wedding.

Deep snow

 

I headed out for the next high point in Fairfield County. The drive took me into New York State and was absolutely gorgeous. It was a bright, bluebird winter day and cruising around and seeing the small towns was making me so happy.

Welcome to New York?

Winter driving The Fairfield County Highpoint:

Fairfield County Highpoint

From there it was off to the Southwest Lindsley Peak Hills of New Haven County:

Southwest Lindsley Peak Hills

 

After that quick jaunt, I decided I had time to squeeze in Middlesex County’s Bald Hill Range. It created a little backtracking for the next day but I was worried about time before catching my plane. I’m so glad I did. Friday had better weather than Saturday and it was a gorgeous walk through the woods!

Trail to Bald Hill Range

Bald Hill Range

Then it was wedding time! After a quick sponge bath in a McDonalds bathroom (seriously, I guess I’m still a dirtbag at heart), I made myself presentable and headed out to celebrate with my friends. Congratulations you two. You’re an adorable, awesome couple. And you threw one heck of a dance party.

Franz & Lucy Wedding

I got a late start the next morning. Since I’d already blown the goal of hitting all the highpoints for the weekend, I figured it was way more important to spend some more time relaxing at Lucy’s parents with the newlyweds and their families. After a leisurely morning, I drove off to Gates Hill, a rather unimpressive roadside stop:

Gates Hill

I reasoned I had time for one last stop, Windham County’s Snow  Hill. I wasn’t sure what the snow conditions would be like and if I’d be able to drive my rental car up near the summit. As it turned out I had to park near the highway and hike a mile each way. I start to get antsy on days that I’m flying about getting to the airport on time and it was reaching that point. I started up the rutted icy road fretting a bit about making this happen. I decided that my mood would be drastically improved if I turned it into a bit of a run. I was wearing my TurboDown so I’m sure that my plane-mates for the rest of the day didn’t really appreciate it but sometimes you just need to go for it!

Snow Hill

All in all, I made it to the wedding, danced my face off, and got 6 of 8 county highpoints. I’ll be back for that slope point on Mt. Frissell and also for little Burley Hill!

October 7, 2010-October 6, 2011

Today marks a year of living in the Silver Valley. I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives.

Moving: A year ago today, I’d just finished up moving all of our stuff (Forrest’s tools and bikes included!) from Missoula to a storage unit here. I’d arranged to live in the basement of a real estate agency for three weeks while we waited to move into our rental house (we were picky and wanted a place we could heat with wood). I was waiting for Forrest to come back from North Dakota.

Sprocket is a lazy packing helper

Continue reading “October 7, 2010-October 6, 2011”

Hello From Connecticut!

Connecticut. The name just looks kinda funny. Especially once I had to look at it a few times to make sure I spelled it right. Anyway…

I’ve had quite a relaxing time on my vacation thus far. I spent the 4th of July being silly and ridiculous with Lucy, Franz, Brendan, and Evan in Providence (there might have been some fake tattoo application…in the takeout waiting area of the Chinese restaurant). Last night I enjoyed some yummy beers, Sea Hag IPA (New England Brewing Company, Woodbridge, CT) and Blue Point Pale (Blue Point Brewing Company, Patchogue, NY), while we hung out with one of Lucy’s childhood friends.

4th of July Fireworks in Providence, RI

Life back in Idaho had been super busy leading up to this trip and I hadn’t really stopped to consider what it would actually be like. Continue reading “Hello From Connecticut!”

Day 36: Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania to Lewiston, Maine

Sprocket had us both up at six and before we knew it we had the jeep ready to go and were on the road bound for a Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Solidly supplied with coffee, iced coffee, and doughnuts we cruised to Boston for lunch with Brendan. We arrived at the Sunset Cafe without too much hassle and really enjoyed perusing the serious beer list. It was a lot of fun to catch up with Brendan–especially because he could relax after having finished his last final for his first year of law school!

Navigating out of Boston was a cinch and before we knew it we were cruising through Portland. We met up with Jean and her roommates who gave Sprocket lots of love and volunteered to watch him while we got dinner at Commons. It was so odd to be back there and I was pretty shocked to realize how many people I still knew. After dinner, we headed over to the new dorm to visit with Q for a bit then headed back over to village. After Sprocket got some more love it was time to crash after a long day of driving.