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Appalachian Trail – Cornwall, CT to Rt. 112

 

Dave, Phyli, Lauren, Eric and I took a little trip up to northwestern CT for another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail.  Since it was the first trip of the season I decided to plan something that was on the easier side, or so I thought.  I planed a nice little 13.2 mile hike with 7.6 on the first day and 5.6 on the second.  Turns out that the first day was not quite as easy as I had thought it would be.

With the long weekend available to us we planned on a Friday-Saturday trip.  Unfortunately the weather didn’t really agree with that decision.   Friday itself was nice but heavy rain was predicted at night.  With that I decided to push it off to a Saturday-Sunday hike.  This turned out OK.

Saturday was overcast and in the high 40s, low 50s.  The NOAA predicted rain between 11am and 2pm.  The rain did indeed start at about 12 and ended around 2:30.  Luckily it wasn’t a driving or even a hard rain.  Parsons with his water resistant hoodie was ok.  The water did make the going slick though.  We also weren’t really able to take any good breaks because we couldn’t really sit down anywhere.

 

The hike began along the banks of the Housatonic River and then after a mile or so shot up into the woods to the top of Silver Mine Hill.  We worked our way down the back side of the hill to Rt. 4.  Here we came across Guinea Brook.  With the rain and the recent snowmelt from a few weeks earlier the brook was high.  So high that we spent close to 20 minutes trying to find a way across.  In the end nothing looked like a promising dry way across.  We resigned ourselves to do the detour.  This involved making our way down Rt. 4 over the brook by road then walking back up another road to the trail.  We probably lost about an hour in this section.

After the brook we had some tough up and down sections, but were able to get a couple nice views along the way.  One nice thing the weather brought was a lack of other hikers.  We only heard some other hikers in front of us for a little while before they headed down a side trail leaving us alone again.

After about 6 hours we finally got to Pine Swamp Lean-to.  Here we were greeted by two Portuguese Water Dogs.  They were pretty friendly and had some weird looking tails.  Most of the tail was short hair.  The last 4 inches or so had long hair that swayed back and forth when they were wagging.  One of the owners said they were called “flags” which makes a lot of sense.

The couple with the dogs decided to move along to the next shelter or go home early.  We offered to let them stay in the lean-to with us since there would only be Eric, Lauren and myself sleeping there.  Dave and Phyli were planning on staying in their tent because it would be warmer.  With them gone we had the whole place to ourselves.

We still had a lot of humidity, even with the skies clearing in the late afternoon, and it felt colder because of it.  I was pretty happy to crack open my dinner of long grain rice, Thai spices and salmon.  It warmed me up with its cayenne pepper.  Dave also brought some a bag of wine, which turned out to be awesome.  Between dinner, wine, down jacket and some not quite approved of activities regarding fires, I felt pretty good.  

The night was pretty uneventful other than my sleeping pad apparently having a slow leak in it.  I had to fill it back up twice during the night.  It was cold but not too bad.

Morning brought sun and wind.  We were all a little worn out from the previous day’s hike so it was nice to have a more leisurely time out.  There was some small elevation gains/losses before coming to the final way down.  Along the way we got to see Lime Rock Race Track from the trail.  Even though this hike was a little early in the season it was still a lot of fun.  Those who didn’t go missed out.  Everything else from here on out will be buggy and humid.

 

Pictures