Saturday, October 17, 2009

Regicides Meets the Quinnipiac

In my previous search for treasure along the Quinnipiac Trail, I missed a landmark trail junction with the Regicides Trail. Just didn't see it. Today I tried a different tact, parking at the end of West Shepard Drive in Hamden and following the very end of the Regicides Trail to the Quinnipiac. The seven-mile Regicides Trail follows the top of West Rock Ridge north-south, and at one point is up above the Wilbur-Cross tunnel.

West Shepard Drive is not an official parking spot. The end of the road appears to be an old State park road that is now closed. I went past the half-barricade and parked before I got to a greenhouse on the right. Any further and there were piles of dirt and logs on the road. A resident has kind of taken over the road there, so you feel rather like you might be on someone's property for a moment, but there are no signs or anything saying you can't be there, and I think it is a public Right-of-Way.

The road quickly turned into a nice paved park road closed to traffic, and I immediately found the blue blazes of the Regicides Trail. Some massive boulders of basalt (trap rock) reminded me of the Judges Cave on the other end of the trail. That's where a couple of British judges hid out after signing the King's death warrant. ("Regicides" means killing royalty).
A steep climb up and bingo, there was the Quinnipiac Trail, marked by this tree that I had totally missed the first time.

I found what I was looking for, hid something extra, then found a rock from which to savor the view of New Haven. It was amazing.
Afterward I drove over to Sleeping Giant and was shocked to find Park staff asking me for $14 to park there. WHAT???? $14 so I can walk around on a trail??? Fees doubled thanks to our state legislators. I thought the point of a State Park was so that regular people had someplace to go, not just the wealthy. And people were paying it, too. Not me. There are many other ways into the park. I found a spot along Mt. Carmel Road at the Mill River where some other cars were parked and quickly found what I was looking for. Advice: If you go to the Giant, go on a weekday if possible (no charge this time of year); and if it's a weekend then use one of the alternate entrances, where there is no charge and there are generally fewer hikers.

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