After pulling into the main parking area and finding it mobbed with November hikers, I decided to try out the north side of the park. I drove down Tuttle Ave and parked at the small lot for the red circle trail. There was a pasture with horses across the street, and not a single hiker. Sweet. The Red Circle Trail and a bridle trail immediate split along this stream.
They do a great job marking the trails at Sleeping Giant. The blazes are always fresh, they're easy to understand, look professional, and there are generally just the right amount of blazes. Because there are so many trails, they have to use lots of colors and shapes. They have "crossover" trails that are blazed one color in one direction and another color in the opposite direction. And finally you have the bridle trails marked with a white horseshoe on black (or "U"), as well as some "X" trails, also white on black. I started out on the "U" trail.
Here on the north side I got an entirely different perspective of Sleeping Giant. The trails were easy to walk, and I came out onto this farmland scene.
My search for treasure then took me onto the Quinnipiac Trail for a bit. Things were definitely more rugged here than on the bridle trails.
You walk up the woodland trail and then BAM, there's a view at the top of Hezekiah's Knob:
After that I meandered on various trails in search of treasure. The trails got much busier. As much as I've hiked in the Giant I still found myself on trails I'd never been on before, like this portion of the Orange Trail, where I caught glimpses of the Tower in the distance:
As the sun sank towards the horizon (it gets dark so early these days!), I looped back towards the parking area, but not before a detour onto the violet trail.
That was probably a mistake, because I found the sun setting while I was still up on the ridge. Oops. I was comforted by the flashlight in my backpack and my gps. Still, the footing is tricky even in daylight. I wouldn't want to hike down in the dark.
Well, I'm sorry, I should have some spectacular pictures of my trip down the gorge to my car, because there were all kinds of waterfalls, cascades, and so forth. They just went on and on as I descended along the stream (the same stream that's in the first photo). I was stunned, having never seen this before (and the water was running pretty well). But it was much too dark. So I will endeavor to return, because that is my new favorite entrance to Sleeping Giant :-).