Who knew that above Heroes Tunnel on the Merritt Parkway is a scenic state park with over 12 miles of trails?
Being a Connecticut native, I’ve driven through this iconic tunnel hundreds of times, but only just discovered the parks existence this past weekend while researching state parks online.
When I first looked at the map and saw a big yellow blob titled, “West Rock State Park,” right over the Merritt, I thought it was a mistake.
Despite my skepticism, I decided to venture up there on Sunday, and was relieved to find it existed.
To be honest, I half expected the park to be a boring open space with some amateur man-made trails. Even after seeing the entrance, I remember thinking, “this is going to be lame.”
And then I entered the park, and I was a bit taken a back by how wrong I was.
Once you enter there is this gigantic lake that appears out of nowhere, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
From the lake, there are a variety of different trail options, but I mapped out a 3.5 mile course which takes you up along the side of the mountain, and then circles you back down around the base of the lake.
The forest was so lush with vegetation, that it almost seemed foreign.
If someone were to show me the photos I took, my first guess would not be Connecticut.
The path I mapped out was a fairly strenuous 2 hour hike to the top, and there were lots of rocky sections…
So if you’re looking for something a bit more moderate, I recommend sticking to the trails that circle around the base of the lake. I actually merged onto these trails during the last 25 minutes of my hike, and it was a nice cool down
When I finally exited the woods, the sun was blinding, but once my eyes adjusted I got to experience one last view before I left.
I live for pretty landscapes.
May 18, 2010 1 Comment
What is it about cascading water on steep rocks that makes us so happy?
On Saturday, my friends and I took a break from the film festival to visit Kent Falls State Park, which was only a 5 minute drive up the road.
From the parking lot, you cross over a scenic little bridge to enter the park.
Now I knew there was going to be a waterfall here, but I didn’t quite expect it to be right out in the open once you entered the park. It was a pretty incredible view to be immediately hit with.
There is a beautiful sitting area built around the waterfall too. Below is a picture I snapped at the base of the waterfall looking out onto the park.
For those looking to get a nice hike in, there is a steep trail along the stream that takes you to various lookout points. We didn’t have that much time before we had to get back to the festival, so I only climbed about half-way up.
As fun as this short hike was, I enjoyed my time at the base of the waterfall the most.
I felt so relaxed and happy sitting at the base of the waterfall, and I think it was pretty clear that it had the same therapeutic effect on everyone else…
There is nothing cooler than getting to relax in the sunshine with a rushing waterfall as your soundtrack.
And just in case you missed the waterfall, there was this kid to point it out for you…
cute baby + scenic waterfall = sensory overload
After visiting Kent Falls, I became curious if “waterfall therapy” existed, so I googled it, but only came across a spa that offers a”waterfall therapy package,” where you drench yourself in a cold waterfall and then receive a deep tissue massage. I would much rather just save my money and enjoy the therapeutic view from a far.
I’m happy to report that I can now add “waterfalls” to my list of adventures that cost zero dollars.
April 28, 2010 1 Comment
There are simply not enough hours in the day to keep up with this blog, so this is me playing catch up on what I did yesterday…
Sunday I woke up exhausted and sore, but the sun was shining so brightly outside that I just couldn’t sit still, so I ate a big stack of french toast, popped some Advil, and it was back out the door.
I thought about going on a run, but the Manchester 5k seriously kicked my butt, so all my hamstrings could handle was a leisurely hike to the top of East Rock Park.
During the hike, it was nice to see signs of spring…
The only thing that wasn’t nice was having to walk through the section of the trail where I had a horrible running fall last year. It happened last April when I was doing a brisk trail run, and at the top of this hill my foot nicked a rock and I flew down it head first….
As you can see, there are no soft landings, and in just a single fall I ripped open the side of my hand, left shoulder, and left knee. Luckily I was with Michal, and he carried me to the main road, and a really amazing woman whose name I don’t know saw me and pulled over because she had a first aid kit in her car. She not only gave me her first aid kit, but she waited with me (and consoled me) while Michal ran back to his apartment to get his car. If you’re wondering why she didn’t give me a ride, it was because I was covered in blood and she had two very young kids in the car. I kept begging her to give me her name and address so I could send her something, but she refused, and insisted that I would of done the same thing for her. I still wish I knew her name though. What a nice lady.
Once we passed through the bad place, it was about a 20 minute hike to the top.
The view from the top is so pretty, and below you’ll see the same statue from the first picture, only this time it’s a bit closer.
We decided to take the Big Step Trail back down the mountain, which is a lot of fun. The trail is exactly how it sounds–massive steps carved into the side of the mountain.
Oh yeah, and did I mention you can experience all of this for free?
Nature is cool like that.
March 22, 2010 No Comments