The Sky’s The Limit Challenge, Hike 1—Airline Trail State Park

Posted By on March 7, 2016

The Sky's The Limit Challenge, Hike 1—Airline Trail State Park

9.5 miles; Thompson, CT

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has decided to sponsor a second year’s “The Sky’s the Limit Challenge.” I’ll outsource the description to them:

The 2015 “Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge” was designed to promote hiking in Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests. Hundreds of people enjoyed the opportunity to hike to fourteen of Connecticut’s high peaks and received prizes for their efforts. Because of its success we will be continuing the program in 2016.

In 2016 we will be highlighting bodies of water: lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, canals, wetlands and Long Island Sound. Participants in this friendly competition will once again have the opportunity to receive a medallion for hiking at ten designated locations. On January 1, 2017 names will be drawn from those who completed all fourteen hikes and fifty winners will receive a hand-carved hiking staff.

The way it works is you have to take two photos for each hike, one at the trailhead and one at another designated location in the park. My new hiking pal Stacy and I have decided to go for the hand-carved staff, so we kicked off the program with the Airline Trail State Park in Thompson. (I know, right? I’ve been whining about a blister for two days, and what do I go and do? A 9 1/2 mile hike. Never said I was a genius. Besides, this was pretty much 8 1/2 miles of just walking with only a measly mile of proper hiking terrain. Not saying I wasn’t limping by the end, but I think I’ll live.)

Photo #1, at the Trailhead

Photo #1, at the Trailhead

So, great big parking lot here, and it took us 10 minutes to find the actual trail. And we’re not talking deer path in the woods here. This is an old railroad bed which has been rehabilitated into a fabulous biking/walking trail. I don’t know why it isn’t marked. It just wasn’t obvious.

Stacy and Dallas

Stacy and Dallas

Dallas the dog turned out to be an excellent hiking companion. And it was cold—as you can see, even Dallas had a coat on.

Bridge over 395

Bridge over 395

There were quite a few bridges and overpasses. This one crossed interstate 395. See that walkway over on the right?

Walkway

Walkway

It was sturdy mesh, and somewhat unnerving to be walking over the highway on.

Nice Sentiment

Nice Sentiment

We were both struck by the duality of human nature at this one underpass… On one side, you had this sweet sentiment about love, and opposite it, a titty drawing. And no, not posting the titty drawing.

Non-Bridge

Non-Bridge

Not all the bridges were even, uh, existing. This is a non-bridge on the trail that required a detour off and around to continue.

The Trail

The Trail

But for the most part, i.e., most of the 8-1/2 miles, the trail looked like this. Flat, straight, even, and well-maintained. We spent a lot of time admiring the beautiful stone walls that accompanied the old railroad bed for literally miles. They were gorgeous.

Photo #2, at the Tri-State Marker

Photo #2, at the Tri-State Marker

And here is the second photo for the TSTLC, taken at the Tri-State Marker. Not sure how this whole hike fit into the announced theme of bodies of water, but there ya go. Blister was not happy, but I was.

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