Saturdays by the Book #2: Mount Higby

Posted By on April 20, 2014

Saturdays by the Book #2: Mount Higby

4.2 miles; meriden, ct

welcome to hike number two in my (hopefully) continuing series, “saturdays  by the book.” this week i chose nature walks in connecticut by rené laubach and charles w. g. smith, published by the appalachian mountain club in 1999. mount higby is hike number 24, and can be found (in my edition) on page 165.

this hike is along a section of the blue-blazed mattabesett trail, which is, in turn, a part of the new england trail. you can find more information and an interactive map of all the connecticut forest and park association’s blue-blazed hiking trails here, and more information and another interactive trail map of the new england trail can be found here. the mattabesett trail is a little over 56 miles long total. the new england trail is a 215-mile long-distance hiking trail that runs from long island sound in connecticut to the massachusetts/new hampshire border.

according to nature walks in connecticut, the authors say you can look forward to beautiful views (check), wildflowers (check), and long basalt cliffs (check). all were most decidedly in evidence.

round-lobed hepatica

round-lobed hepatica

first, the wildflowers. i saw only round-lobed hepatica. but it was in both this lovely shade of purple and also in a very pale pink. it was a very welcome sight; first wildflowers (not counting skunk cabbage) i’ve seen on the trail this year.

panorama view from cliffs

panorama view from cliffs (click to embiggen)

now, the beautiful views! as you can see, there were lots of folks out enjoying the sights and the gorgeous weather. this is the first spot where you can get these amazing views.

past here, the trail is simply spectacular. it goes for a long stretch along the cliffs giving you more and more views of western connecticut. it’s also, parenthetically, a rugged trail in places—full of jagged rocks and exposed roots. and there were a few places where i had to do some undignified “butt-scootching” to get down some sections, and there were also several places where i had to do some bonafide rock climbing—searching for handholds and toeholds. not a lot, though, and never for very long. other stretches of the trail are a dream to walk, with even sandy soil and gentle ups and downs.

speaking of ups and downs, did i mention that the first section is at about 850 feet and the second section, after you descend into a small ravine, is 892 feet? lotta ups and downs. but totally worth it.

basalt cliffs

basalt cliffs

there’s a black and white shot of this cliff in the book which doesn’t hardly do it justice. and see that far ridge beyond the cliff? that’s where i had lunch before heading back (as is recommended by the book’s authors).

lunch spot

lunch spot

here is my lunch spot. i had this second peak to myself. that terraced hill in the distance is mount chauncey, and that’s a massive quarry.

all in all, this was a spectacular hike. it’s a little farther afield than i usually like to go—about an hour and a quarter’s drive from home—but completely worth the trip. and the description in the book is excellent. highly recommend!


One Response to “Saturdays by the Book #2: Mount Higby”

  1. […] again after my two previous experiences, but i shouldn’t have been. this was more like my mount higby hike.  there were some awesome […]

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