Sunday, May 1, 2011

Glacial Boulders - Shenipsit Central - Blue-Blazed Trails

Today we hiked Glacial Boulders (blue-blazed) trail located in or near Hebron and Glastonbury, CT off Birch Mountain Road.  This trail is part of the Shenipsit Central Trail, off Case Mountain in Hebron/Bolton.

(The Shenipsit Trail is marked by blue rectangular blazes. It is part of the blue-blazed trail system maintained by the CFPA. Founded in 1929, the CFPA has created and maintained 825 miles of blue-blazed trails in the state of Connecticut.[3] Wikipedia

Ferns along our route

The trail book we have brought us to a small road off  rt85 near the large houses that dot the old apple orchards of Glastonbury.  But as we found out very quickly, that Blue-Blazed trail was moved, because people did not like hikers and bikers near their homes. 

So we backtracked to Birch Mountain Road and packed near the Cell/Weather towers on the right hand side of the road. Once parked the four of us crossed and back to the Blue-Blazed trail.  The hike started off nice and level and followed old stonewalls.  With in the first few minutes we found budding ferns and a nice clean walking trail.

Map from our guild book
The boys (9 & 6) did real well following the well marked Blue-blazed trail markers.  Our first major trail sight were the power lines, in which we walked under and were passed by two runners.  I have to mention during the whole 4 mile hike we saw less than 12 other people, some riding mountain bikes, some trail running, walking their dogs and all were pleasant and being the hikers we stayed to one side for the bikers.

After we walked under the powerlines, we saw three trails branch off the Red Trail, the blue & white trail and the blue trail...we stuck with the blue trail, and I am glad we did because we found some of our first garnets buried in silvery boulders.  It was such a cool sight for the boys to see tiny gems sticking out from the silvery rocks, alongside stripes of granite both white and pink in color.  Both the boys were excited to see the garnets and tried hard to dig them out of the rocks.  After seeing these our hike went upward, it was a bit of an incline and the boys were troopers.

The path continued to follow sheets of rock that coated the ground
all the way to the Glacial Boulder.  It almost looked like a sidewalk.  The boulder, was one of the largest rocks that we have seen, and the boys all tried to climb it, but failed to reach the top of the largest rock (pictured here).

The rest of the walk offered many views from Pine Ledge were great and it was suggested as a nice place to stop for lunch, which we did.  It was shaded and flat.  Through the trees you might be able to see Hartford and Manchester, but the leaves were pretty full.  We continued onto Garnet Ledge which was the 2 mile point and at this point we turned around and followed the Blue/White Blazed trail back to the car.  We were glad we did because along the way the boys spied larger garnets, many were the size of peas, and were loose from the larger stones.  Pockets were filled and legs were getting tired, so we continued on and finally decided to use the gps/map app on Troys phone and found a route to Birch Mountain Road.

Once the road was insight, the boys were happy to see that the hike was coming to an end.  But before finding the road mom and dad make the commitment to get ice cream on the way home.  So this was even more of an incentive to finish without more complaining.

This was a great hike and very doable for our family and I am looking forward to doing it again this fall, because starting out early when it is cooler out was one thing that helped make this enjoyable.

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