Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sleeping Giant: The Other Quiet Side

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 :-).


Dick Skudlarek said...

I've never been to Sleeping Giant, but your descriptions have whet my appetite. So many little time!

SereneWolf said...

Wow, that shot of the farmhouse is really great! I think I have been to that vantage point a long time ago... I have not been able to find my way back since. Where is it??

Have you ever checked out the CAVES on Sleeping Giant? There are about seven that I know of. (one is filled with pretty large, unhappy looking spiders however...)

Teresa said...

The farmhouse is off the northeast side of the park, visible from the "U" bridle trail.

I haven't seen the caves, and I'm not even sure where they are, but I did take a picture of a small cave I saw from a distance during my last visit. Alas, that was in the camera I lost.

SereneWolf said...

The most popular one is called "Deadman's Cave" and it is down in the talus rockpile and cliff area below the castle... (think GREEN TRAIL) You have to climb to get to it, but when you get into the entranceway, it twists down into the side of the cliff and becomes a small room big enough for a few people. At the back side of the room the whole thing "slants" and drops down into a dark crawlspace (there is a log against the wall to help you down) and then there's a hole in the floor the size of a manhole at the end. If you drop down into that, it is about a six foot drop into another, larger room, with passages off to the side and some smaller rooms. There is a lot of graffiti, so you won't exactly feel like you are "discovering" anything... but there are tiny little bats on the cielings in the lower rooms - which is kind of cool.
It might be better to check it out in the dead of winter. There are not as many people up there then, and in the summer time the upper cave is also host a number of large spiders (if you are arachnaphobic, these are not what you want to see. A Google search under "Meta Ovalis" will show you.) and you may very well cross paths with some decnet sized and not always even-tempered Copperhead snakes in the rockpile around the cave. (they are only dangerous if they actually bite you, so just keep that from happening and you are okay :-) LOL