Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
Start: Old Sharon Rd, Sharon, CT
Mileage: 22.8 miles (map completed after the fact)
I parked my car at Hoyt Rd, right on the CT/NY line, and got a shuttle to Old Sharon Rd from Dave of Backcountry Outfitters. The day was overcast, windy, and cold (high was 28 degrees). Snow was forecast for that afternoon and evening.
I started hiking at the AT at 8:30am from Old Sharon Rd.
I quickly came to Guinea Brook and made a careful crossing on icy rocks and tree trunks.
I hiked by Silver Hill Campsite, making a stop at the privy on my way past. The site had multiple picnic tables, a pavilion, a look-out point, a water pump, and a swinging love seat. I saw three people outfitted for overnight backpacking resting at the campsite.
I passed by Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter, Mt Algo Shelter, Schaghticoke Mountain Campsite, and Ten Mile River Shelter.
I climbed St Johns Ledges (943′), Caleb’s Peak (1164′), Indian Rocks (1232′), and Ten Mile Hill (1000′).
I hiked for a few flat, scenic miles paralleling the Housatonic River.
It snowed from 11am-12pm, dropping an inch or so of snow and then began snowing in earnest around 4pm. There was ~3 inches of snow by the time I hiked back to my car, arriving at 6pm. I hiked the last half-hour by headlamp.
It was cold enough that my water bottles would freeze if not handled regularly; by the end of the day, they’d frozen closed. There were gusts of wind up to 40 MPH which added a wicked windchill; overall, the day’s weather made it challenging to stop and take breaks. The cold weather irritated my asthma, making my breathing more labored in general. The terrain was made more difficult by layers of dried leaves, icy rocks, ice patches, and frost heaves/needle ice. The ground would often give away underneath me 1-3 inches if I stepped on the ice and dirt formations.
During the course of the day, I gained over 4,000 ft of elevation, which goes a ways towards explaining why I was so tired and why my legs were so sore in the days following my hike.
With this hike, I completed the Connecticut section of the AT and approximately 51% of the entire trail. The remainder of the AT I have left to hike includes: Stratton, ME to Katahdin; Pinkham Notch, NH to Gorham, NH; and Waynesboro, VA to Springer.