|This hike occurred on July 9, 2013|
725 Westfield Rd., Meriden, CT – Parking: Technically, the parking area is inside Dr Francis Giuffrida Park (NOT the same as Giuffrida Park); Google Maps says Dr Giuffrida Park is at 500 Westfield Rd. However, if you put in 500 Westfield Rd, GPS will direct you a quarter of a mile down the road. The parking area inside the park could hold over a dozen cars; it seemed like a popular fishing and dog-walking spot. The Blue trail is easy to find as it runs right past the parking lot and the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir. We hiked from here.
135 Footit Dr., Middletown, CT – Parking: Footit Dr is a dead end that quickly turns into a dirt road. There are multiple parking areas on this road; look for the first one on the left that has a Red-Blue blaze. Based on the trash (condom wrappers, used condoms, and small plastic baggies), it’s a popular trysting and drugging spot.
There was a gross looking marsh across from the dam.
You could see a side trail that headed straight up the incline; instead, the Blue trail goes to the right.
Although the incline on the Blue trail was plenty steep anyway.
It went up…
And up again for variety.
This was climbable provided you could make it all the way to the top in the first place.
My dog had a hard time with this section of the trail but was able to make it to the top without any help, though I did spot him just in case.
The climb was substantial and the mosquitoes were horrible. They drove us to climb the hill faster.
The views from the top was very nice, though.
There were also lots of Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) at the summit and along the trail.
There was a plaque at the summit.
We saw some Black Raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) along the trail.
We also saw some wild Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) as well.
From one of the earlier lookout points, you could see the parking lot of Dr Francis Giuffrida Park.
The view from the cliffs was beautiful.
Here’s an after-the-fact panoramic shot (created using AutoStitch‘s free demo version). This program is amazing and super easy to use.
After walking along the ridge for a while, the trail began to descend. Along the way, there was a random car.
A little way down the trail, there was a deep creek bed with a bridge crossing over it.
The creek bed was very deep and cut through stone.
Nearby, we found some mysterious red berries. Please let us know if you recognize them!
We saw a Giuffrida Park trail map posted high up on a tree (too high for me to get a close look).
From here, the trail did a lot of twisting and turning through woods that looked like they had been selectively logged. The mosquitoes got even worse around here, as the ground was moist and swampy. We crossed another bridge and the trail began to climb a bit.
We followed the Blue trail until we saw the Blue-Red on our left; it was a good thing we’d been there before as the trail wasn’t clearly marked on our side. We arrived at our car parked on Footit Drive! Right where Footit Drive turns to gravel, there’s a sign noting the conservation area.
Overall, while the initial incline was extremely steep, the views and wild berries were awesome. However, the mosquitoes took away much of the pleasure of the hike. We applied bug spray 2-3 times each during the hike but that didn’t seem to deter the bugs much. We each had at least half a dozen bites by the time we were done. Also, after looking at the last section of trail, we may try to hike it in two pieces.