Airline Trail, East Hampton to Hebron

Posted By on March 27, 2017

Airline Trail, East Hampton to Hebron

9 miles; East Hampton, Colchester, and Hebron, CT

Oh, my, what a bad day my friend Stacy and I chose for a hike! Raining and in the mid-30s. Nevertheless, we had a blast. Oh, and also we originally set out to get our first STLC shot for 2017 and never found it. So there was that. Still, totally fun day. Except for the rain. And the cold. And did I mention it was raining?

The Trail

The Trail

To be fair, it didn’t actually start out raining. It was just kind of misty and overcast. The Airline Trail, or Air Line State Park, as it is more properly known, runs on the railroad bed of the old Air Line Railroad, which ran from New Haven to Boston in a [relatively] straight line, as the crow flies, hence, the name. I’ve been on a couple stretches of it, but never this far west.

East Hampton Signage

East Hampton Signage

Not far from where we parked, we came across this, I guess, more “formal” entrance. Note the snow. There was a lot of that, actually.

Inspirational Rocks

Inspirational Rocks

And the first, oh, 5-6 miles or so were sprinkled with these garishly-colored rocks with inspirational quotes on them. Meh. I’m in the woods, okay rocks? I’m inspired enough. I find your exhortations intrusive to my experience.

Ice Dagger

Ice Dagger

This trail is amazingly flat. As a result we found ourselves going through deep cuts with ice-covered rock walls looming over us on either side. And we saw this one astonishing ice-stalactite which looked to both of us like a crystal dagger.

Pterodactyl Tracks

Pterodactyl Tracks

Also many of these tracks. We called them pterodactyl tracks, but I’m guessing they were more likely turkey tracks. So many of them, though! I had no idea turkeys enjoyed hiking.

View from the Lyman Viaduct

View from the Lyman Viaduct

We also crossed what I now know to be the Lyman Viaduct. I copied the following from the Connecticut DEEP’s trail brochure:

Towering 137 feet high over Dickinson’s Creek, this is one of the biggest thrills of the trail. Built in 1873 and named after David Lyman, the Air Line’s first president, the Lyman was once a 1,108 foot long bridge. The increasing weight of freight trains necessitated filling the bridge to the top with gravel in 1912-13 (a culvert allows Dickinson’s Creek to flow through).

It really was an impressive view from up there. Stunning in some spots.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

You can find out more about the Air Line Trail State Park from this, the above-mentioned state brochure. It includes a map. And as always, click on the image above to download my gps track.

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