Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoroughly Escapist Part 1 - Sleeping Giant State Park

What a spectacular Thanksgiving weekend it turned out to be here in the Northeast. High 50's, sunny, not too windy - really couldn't have asked this area to produce better weather for Escaping from Black Friday.

And in fact, since they're strrrretching Black Friday out longer and longer, I decided it would be absolutely appropriate to stretch the escaping as well! Here's my report on Escape, Day 1.

We started out with our usual hike with the hounds on Friday. TQ had left the paddle-or-hike call up to me; it was a great day for either one but in the end, I picked hiking 'cause that way we could take the dogs along, plus it simplifies the packing, plus there are a couple of parks with excellent hiking trails near where TQ's folks live & I do like to take advantage of that when we go up.

We ended up picking Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, CT, this time, and with the fine weather we decided to take the very best trail they have - the one that leads up around the Giant's head. It's steep, and there's one point you are skirting the edge of a quarry, so it's really one you only want to tackle in dry conditions.

This is especially true because old Buzz (with TQ, above) is getting a little stiff in his old age, can't take downhills like he once did, plus we had a new addition to our hiking crew.

Oh Hai!
This is Ziva. Ziva is an Italian greyhound who belongs to TQ's parents. Ordinarily a hike in November would be out of the question 'cause the little thing would freeze to death at 40 degrees - but up around 60, as long as we kept moving, she was fine. Buzz & Bella love her & we've walked them together, but this was the first time we'd taken her on a real hike. She loved it, turns out to be a very nimble little scrambler & only had to be lifted down from a couple of spots where the jump down was a bit too far and the landing a bit too hard for those slender little legs (she's broken at least one just caroming off of a sofa while tearing around the living room at top speed - that game has been scratched off the list of permitted amusements).

The rocky trail behind Ziva is the one that wraps up around the Giant's head - you huff and you puff (or at least I huffed and puffed) going up it, but you gain altitude fast, and then you come around a bend, and...

oooh-lar-lar, what a view!

Every scenic perch had a percher enjoying the scene - well, not EVERY perch, there are too many to really fill up. We like the solitude of hiking in less clement weather, but I actually loved seeing all of these people who'd made the same call as we did, blowing off shopping to get out and hike.

This way...

to another vista.

TQ dealt with the pack here for a moment while I took a couple of pictures. We got a lot of attention with this assortment - small, medium and large!

Bella surveys.

Ah, recognize this?
I had Bella and Ziva here for a while - this was the hardest part for Buzz, and he's a big fellow so TQ wanted to tend to him. Bella of course was fine, she's part mountain goat, but this is actually the stretch where Ziva needed a little assistance. Steep!

And this is the quarry at the back of the Giant's head - the trail actually runs right next to it from the top down to here. See why we only do this trail in nice conditions?

Back to the base of the mountain

O ro, the rattlin' bog, the bog down in the valley O!
And we all slept well that night.

Like to find out more about this great park (or even just see an entire picture of the Sleeping Giant)? Head on over to the website of the Sleeping Giant Park Association,


JP said...

Oooh lar lar views indeed!

Buck said...


bonnie said...

Thanks! This is definitely one of my favorite hikes in the area.

pia said...

Beautiful pictures. Looks wonderful!

McGhiever said...

Enjoyed stumbling across your post. Unless you object, I've shared it on my state parks web magazine,

bonnie said...

No objections, glad you liked it & thanks for passing it along. That's a fun site, all those different parks featured all together!