Nyantaquit Trail

Posted By on November 27, 2018

Nyantaquit Trail

4.8 miles; Lyme, CT

After my too-ambitious plan to hike the Warner Trail got postponed till Spring, I kind of slacked off. More than 2 weeks passed without my going anywhere at all to hike, and that was a mistake. My second mistake was picking this particular trail to start up with again, because it was pretty rugged, at least by my standards, and the woods (and the trail and the rocks) were wet and leaf-covered, which resulted in 2 falls, one of which wasn’t so bad because I landed on my most padded part (ma butt!). The other one resulted in a smashed knee, garnering me that old “ten-year-old” scraped knee look, but no permanent damage. Otherwise, uh, fun hike!

Old Style Blue/Green Connector Blaze

Old Style Blue/Green Connector Blaze (kind of looks like a turtle’s head)

The Nehantic State Forest in Lyme wasn’t too far from a morning dentist appointment in New London, so I decided to knock off another one of the CFPA’s blue-blazed trail system as long as I was out that way anyway. It’s a small trail, only a 3.1 mile loop with a 6/10ths mile long crossover and an 8/10ths mile connector trail coming from a swimming lake and picnic area. I decided to park at the picnic area and use the blue-green connector trail.

Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens

Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens

This little plant, one of the few still-green spots in the forest, is Rattlesnake Plantain. It’s a native orchid, and is a medicinal herb used to treat inflammation as well. I believe the common name comes from the appearance of the leaves, which look (a little?) like snake scales.

Did I mention it had been raining the night before?

Did I mention it had been raining the night before?

Parking at the Uncas Lake picnic area proved to be both good news and bad news. The good news was that it added a very nice 1.6 miles to the hike. The bad news was that it was one long, steep, almost unrelenting climb up from there to the main trail. And of course what goes up must come down… ouch. When I finally made my way to the actual Nyantaquit Trail, huffing and puffing, I was rewarded with a lovely long stretch of old woods road, wide and blessedly level.

Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail

Naturally this late into the year there wasn’t a lot of fungus around, but the turkey tails were just spectacular. So many colors!

Hikes with Bathrooms!

Hikes with Bathrooms!

I was pretty sure I’d hiked part of this trail before, but it wasn’t till I got here that I was sure. I mean, a porto-john in the middle of the woods is kind of hard to forget.

Nickerson Hill, the highest point

Nickerson Hill, the highest point

Naturally I can’t show you an actual photograph of the view because crappy camera. But trust me when I say that despite the gloomy-looking overcast, there was a view from up here all the way to the Long Island Sound. Pretty cool.

Fantastic signage

Fantastic signage

The blazing and signage on this trail were fantastic. There was only one short stretch where you kind of lost the blazes, but it was only the one trail, and it wasn’t far before they popped up again.

That's why they call it a crotch...

So that’s why they call it a crotch…

Rather bizarre dead tree crotch. I mean, it’s now completely obvious why it’s called a crotch.

You can find out more about the Nyantaquit Trail and the Nehantic State Forest (this hike was on the Lyme Block) from this CT DEEP website. You can read more about the vast (825 miles at last count) network of blue-blazed trails throughout Connecticut at the website of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Be sure to check out the interactive map. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

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