Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Chauncey Peak Loop Hike (Giuffrida Park) - Meriden, CT

Lately, I have been feeling insanely lucky for the luxury of being able to hike on a Tuesday morning.  You see, I spent my whole life working at least one job (often two, sometimes three).  I did my duty working weekends, working two jobs a day, working through graduate school, so on and so forth.  I always had the goal of starting my own company and making my own hours.  You've heard the saying, you are either working hard to make your dreams work or making someone else's.  My plan was to gain my Licensed Environmental Professional certification and then start my own Phase I company.  When the coronavirus struck and my work from home priveledges were revoked, for my safety and my sanity, I decided going back to the office was not an option and it was now or never to start that company.  And so, my little environmental consulting firm was born and so was my ability to make my own schedule.  It's been slow to start which makes me even more thankful for this hard-working husband of mine who works long hours to help pick up the slack.  With my newfound freedom and flexibility, I was able to dedicate more time to Katie Wanders an even better, more time for tackling busier Connecticut hikes during the week.  

The Loop Hike around Bradley Hubbard Reservoir to the top of Chauncey Peak is a popular hike.  This hike offers sweeping views of the reservoir and surrounding area at only 2.5 miles with 400 feet of elevation gain.  It's beginner-friendly, dog-friendly, older kid-friendly, and a great way to get outside and enjoy the fall weather - all reasons why it makes the Katie Wanders Best Hikes in CT list.  I was surprised to see a good amount of cars in the parking lot on a Monday morning around 10:45am as I headed out onto the trail in a clockwise direction with the dogs in tow.  I was surprised to see how quiet the trail was as we passed one hiker on the western side of the reservoir and eventually caught up with another hiker on the east side.  As I made my way around the trail, I took in the views of the reservoir before quickly climbing up the steep ridge on the eastern side.  There are a lot of exposed and cliffy areas on the trail and if you are hiking with dogs or older kids, make sure you keep them far away from the exposed sections of trail.  While the ridgeline is exposed and you need to be careful and cautious, the hike is worth the view of the reservoir and the valley around you.    It's a great place for a picnic, for a break, for some time enjoying the sunshine.  

After stopping at the viewpoints, I kept following the blue trail towards the summit when I started to hear a strange series of beeps and whistles.  A few minutes later, a gentleman in a hard hat jogged down the trail to warn me that they were blasting in this area and that I had to wait on this section of trail for a few minutes while they set off the blast.  He told me about a series of warning bells and whistles, the explosion, and then the long whistle that would signal all was clear.  The next part shook me a bit as he asked me to "go farther back on the trail and stand under a tree for some cover".  Here I am, standing under a twiggy tree on a high point when I hear the warning signals and brace the dogs as we waited for the explosion.  All of the sudden, I heard the boom and felt the ground shake.  It was quite the experience to be standing on a ledge area exposed on both sides while dynamite is blasted in the ground below you.  The dogs lost their mind and it took me a few minutes to settle them and when the coast was clear, I followed the trail a little farther to see a dirt road bordering the trail and the dust settling on the other side of the ridge.  

Of all the trails I have hiked all over the world, standing on one while it was being blasted was an entirely new experience and I was slightly confused as to why the trail was even open.  All excitement aside, we continued on the blue trail as it started to follow steep switchbacks down the mountain and back to the bottom of the reservoir.  Some people cut trails through the switchbacks but please please please follow the trail and the switchbacks and don't continue to erode the trails or create new ones.  

Back at the car, I gave the dogs some water and we soaked in the sunshine on the first day of fall after summer ended with a cold snap.  

Trail Stats

Distance: 2.5 miles round trip 

Elevation: 400 feet 

Trail: Start on the Blue Trail on the left (west) side of the reservoir.  Follow the Blue Trail to the intersection of the white trail about halfway across the pond.  Head past the end of the lake until you see a Blue trail on your right.  Follow the Blue trail into the woods as you start to climb the ridgeline.  Follow the blue trail along the east side of the reservoir and stop at the viewpoints along the way.  Keep following the blue trail down the switchbacks (you will see trails that cut off and shortcut down the switchbacks - stay on the blue marked trail).  The trail will come out on the southeastern part of the reservoir and you will follow the dam across to the parking lot where you started.  


Click here for the Park Map and more park information 

No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!