Since the weather in the Adirondacks is iffy right now (and we are still acquiring winter gear), I looked at other places to go for a hike that weren't too far away from our house. We decided on a hike in the Taconic Mountains that incorporated part of the Appalachian Trail. Mike and I have never been on the Appalachian Trail before (well, I may have been on part of it as a child while my family was in Baxter State Park, but I'm not sure where my family hiked while there) so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to hike a small section of it.
We drove to Mike's parents' house on Friday night since they only live about an hour and a half away from where we would be hiking. Saturday morning we woke up around 6:30am and got our stuff together in about an hour. After hitting up Stewart's for breakfast (Mike likes to go here since it was a big part of his childhood, ha) we made the hour and a half drive to Salisbury, Connecticut where we would be starting our hike.
The beginning of our hike
Mike and I decided on hiking a loop that incorporated the Undermountain Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Paradise Lane Trail. This is about a 6 mile loop that climbs up Bear Mountain, the highest peak in Connecticut.
We also tentatively planned to add more to our hike in order to see the tri-state marker.
Two handsome guys enjoying their hike!
Riga Junction, our first time on the Appalachian Trail!
Family photo, a new state for the Bern!
The hike to Bear Mountain was pretty uneventful, but beautiful. We really enjoyed our time on the Appalachian Trail. At the top of the mountain we spent some time checking out the views and eating some snacks before continuing on. The hike down the mountain was a little bit sketchy, with some icy spots and steep rock scrambles that we had to navigate down with Bernie (two guys section hiking the AT said that we went down the mountain really fast, especially with a dog, I thought we were going slow!).
One of the more interesting water crossings (and the yellow marker on the tree indicates the trail we should have taken, oops!)
The end of our AT experience (though we'd do about .4 miles more since we missed a turn)
We made it to Sages Ravine and realized that we had missed the turn for the connector trail to go to the tri-state marker. I asked Mike if we were just going to do the loop or turn back, and of course we turned back!
Walking along some planks
Possibly the top of Round Mountain
We found the trail easily enough and made our way toward Mt. Washington Road. This part of our hike was a bit wet, but it was flat so we made good time. After reach Mt. Washington Road we started the trek to Round Mountain. There were some more interesting climbs, but we managed! There wasn't anything indicating the summit of Round Mountain, except for a few spots with cairns, so we just kept going to Mt. Frissell.
At the summit, the third mountain of the day
I really liked Mt. Frissell (we both said it was our favorite part of the hike) and after some photos we kept going past the summit. We only had to go about a mile or so more to get to the tri-state marker. Before getting there we made it to the Massachusetts/Connecticut borders, which is also the highest point in Connecticut (Bear Mountain is the highest peak, but not the highest point).
Standing in three places at once
Finally, we made it to the marker! We were in three states at once: New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Goodbye Appalachian Trail!
Taking in the views
We turned around to head back the same way we had already hiked (the downside of out and backs). When we got back to Sages Ravine, we said goodbye to the Appalachian Trail and started to hike on Paradise Lane. I also liked this part of the hike, there were some cool streams throughout and the wooded areas looked different than where we had already hiked.
Hiking under the setting sun
Just as it started to get dark, we got back on the Undermountain Trail and finished up the last 1.2 miles of our hike back to the trailhead. We timed the hike perfectly (by luck) and we finished up just as the sun was setting (we did have headlamps with us, but it was nice to not need them while hiking). Our hike ended up being about 11.5 miles total in 7.5 hours.
A great day!
We had a great time during this hike, and we can't wait to get back on the Appalachian Trail again (which we are doing tomorrow!)