Mashamoquet Brook to Natchaug via Air Line Trail

Posted By on April 10, 2017

Mashamoquet Brook to Natchaug via Air Line Trail

12.1 miles; Hampton, Eastford and Pomfret, CT

Day #4 of my Five Hikes in Five Days almost killed me [Spoiler: It didn’t.] It came about because I was looking at the Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenges, and noticed that these two TSTLC destination parks were connected to each other via the Air Line Trail and thought, “Gee, that would be fun!” Unfortunately, I wasn’t so good at estimating the mileage, and it turned out to be almost more than I could handle.

Wolf Den Arrow

The first park, Mashamoquet Brook State Park, is where we needed to get a photo of ourselves at the Wolf Den. It’s the famous spot where, okay, I’ll outsource it to the DEEP:

The most famous feature is the Wolf Den into which, on a night in 1742, Israel Putnam crept and shot a wolf that for years had preyed upon local sheep and poultry. Israel Putnam was later to gain fame as a Major General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

I also seem to recall from my last visit here that this was the last wolf in Connecticut?

Well Selfie

This park is the former site of several large farms, and is dotted with all kinds of stonework, including several wells. Anyway, we both got well selfies, as well as our official TSTLC selfies and headed off to find the Air Line Trail.

Don’t I Look Perky Here?

Which we did, eventually, find, in spite of the fact that there were no signs anywhere and there was no place you could even park if you wanted to, which, fortunately, we did not.

Air Line Trail

As it turned out, this is a spectacularly uninteresting stretch of the Air Line Trail. It pretty much looked like the photo, above, but without the trees or water feature. Long, straight, and boring. Did I mention it was long? It turned out to be almost exactly 5 miles. And that was after a substantial little hike in Mashamoquet, and before another substantial hike in the Natchaug State Forest. Yeah, I was doing a lot of “Whose bright idea was this???”-type whinging.

First Wildflower of Spring: Coltsfoot

The weather was pretty nice today, though. Warm but not hot, cool but not cold. It was Goldilocks weather… just right.

Belted Galloways

The short stretch of road-walking between the Air Line Trail and Natchaug State Forest took us by a farm with lots of these gorgeous black & white cattle which are called Belted Galloways. They’re from Scotland and Ireland, and are well-adapted to foraging on rocky ground. Sleeping on it, too, looks like.

Not So Perky Now, Eh?

Our second selfie was at the hearth of, oh, take it away, DEEP:

Of historic interest is a large stone fireplace and chimney that are the remains of the birthplace of General Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union General killed in the Civil War.

Yeah, I almost fell down. Good thing there was a post there.

You can find out more about both of these State Parks/Forests from the CT DEEP website, and the Sky’s the Limit Challenge info is at this website. And as always, click on the image, above for details and to download the gps track.


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