Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Good Morning Ragged Mountain!



Saturday afternoon my friend Gene called me to see if I would like to join him and his wife Karen hiking a local mountain, Ragged Mountain, the next day. I said sure, sounds like fun, what time? We decided to leave Granby, Ct at 6am Sunday morning, and our friends Dorry and Buzz met us in Granby and followed us down to Kensington, Ct. We wanted to get there just after sunrise to catch the morning glow on the rocks and cliff faces. As we were hiking up the trail, the sun started to rise, and what a beautiful morning it was going to be. As we hit one of the first outlooks, the vista was just stunningly beautiful.



Everything was colored by the beautiful morning glow of the sun:





Most of the trees that we came across were stunted, contorted cedars, twisted by the constant wind and lack of water,


but this one was perfectly straight and surprisingly large


As we followed the trail higher, I turned around and snapped this photo of the sun peeking through the tree.


There was not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was warming up nicely from a chilly 28°F start. We were getting close to my friend Gene's destination. Part of the cliff face had fractured and sheared off, with a large boulder that had also fractured in two wedged between the sheared off the cliff. He had seen this on a previous hike here, but did not have time to stop and photograph it.



This fractured part is much larger than it looks. Here is my friend standing on the broken boulder for a size comparison


We took this opportunity to take a quick snack break and just enjoy the morning and the company.

Further up the trail, we came across this lovely example of a Glacial Erratic, which Wikiepedia defines as
"A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests. "Erratics" take their name from the Latin word errare, and are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres. Erratics can range in size from pebbles to large boulders, up to 15,000 Metric tons"



Just around the corner and up the trail we came across another outlook, and hearing voices, we looked down. There, below us, were some people rappelling off the cliff and climbing back up. We stayed and watched them for a while, it was very interesting to watch and listen. The leader was talking to some younger climbers, telling them to "overcome your inner demons" to make the climb up the cliff face.



We stayed in that area for a bit, taking more photos of the lovely, twisted trees. In this instance, they were pine trees instead of cedars.



Continuing our hike, we soon left the Ragged Mountain trails and hit the Metacomet Trail. Here is a link to Wikipedia for more information about the Metacomet Trail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacomet_Trail

The climb here went up hill drastically!





Then, just when we thought we were safe, we hit this wall


We had to climb hands and feet up. I climbed up first, but got stuck at one point, so I had to swing to the side to let Gene by so I could hand up my monopod, camera and backpack to him. Once I was past him, I took his camera and tripod so he would help the others up. Fortunately, that was the hardest part of the hike, we would soon meet other areas just as steep, but no rock climbing. As we descended down into a rift type valley, we ran across this lovely little pond. The light was just at the correct angle to get beautiful reflections. We spent about an hour here taking photos.





I also scared the first snake of the year, I would have thought it was too cold for the snakes to be out yet, but this poor little guy took off when he saw me and headed straight for the cold water.





By this time, we realized that it was now past 1:30, and our goal to be home by now was well past. We had been hiking for 6 hours, and we just wanted to get back to the cars. All the climbing up and over rocks were starting to get to us. Unfortunately, the trail map did not show distances for the trails. We swore that we had missed the trail turn off to get back onto the Ragged Mountain trail, but a lucky break, a gentleman jogging by informed us that we had a mere 10-15 minutes more on the Metacomet Trail and we would hit the trail loop back to the vehicles.

One last look from the top of the mountain,



The large building all the way to the left is the UCONN Health Center, all the way to the right and in the distance is the City of Hartford, the large tall buildings. In between are the cites of New Britain, Farmington, and Newington.


We made it back to the cars at 3m, a nice long 8 hours of hiking. We teased my friend Gene, that the next time we go hiking, his wife Karen picks the route. We had a wonderful time though, a lot of laughs and great company made the miles and hours go by quickly.









1 comment:

  1. Wow! Amazing photos! Love the B&W of the tree, and the reflections. :) And the snake!! No wonder you were tired!! :)

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