Friday, September 21, 2012

Canton - Sweetheart Mountain

Date Hiked:  Thursday, September 20, 2012
Number in Group: 2
Estimated distance round-trip: 2 miles
Weather:  Beautiful, crisp, fall-like day, 73°F
Resources:  Canton Land Conservation Trust, New England Lost Ski Areas Project: Canton Ski Club
Highlights of the trip: Views of the Nepaug Reservoir, old ski area

B and I were the only two for the hike today.  Too bad, because it was an interesting spot.

B was a little hesitant when we pulled into the grassy parking area and saw the overgrown weeds/wildflowers that led to the trail.  The plants had also overtaken the area in front of the trail kiosk making it a little difficult to take a look at the maps.  I had intended to print a map before we left, but a computer glitch prevented that.  (Okay, someone had put matchbox cars in the printer paper feed area and managed to jam the printer - no major damage, just didn't have the time to fix and reprint.)   I had looked at the trail map online and knew I wanted to do yellow, to red, to blue (they all connect).

We went through the weedy, sort of overgrown area and up the hill.  I remember there was some confusion because there seemed to be trails coming in from the side, but we stuck to the yellow marks and were fine.  As we climbed, we could see remnants of the old Canton ski area.  There are still pulleys on poles and old machinery.  There are also swaths of younger trees and ferns where the area had been cleared for skiing.

Younger trees and ferns.

Not part of the ski area, I hope.

Old ski tow equipment.
 We ran in to a couple of women who were on their way down.  They said the trail got a bit confusing, but said that we wanted to leave the yellow trail and follow a pretty well worn trail to get to the overlook. 

Following the yellow trail to the left, we eventually came to a little gully with an unmarked trail to the left.  We followed that.  We could see chain link fence that came to an end on the ridge above us.  I assume to keep hikers out of a neighborhood that is built over there.  We followed the trail until we came out on a rock outcropping with a nice view of the southern end of the Nepaug Reservoir.

Nepaug Reservoir overlook.
As we headed back to the yellow trail, I pointed out some purple arrows I had seen on some trees.  My original thought had been that these might mark the way to the overlook.  Maybe there is another overlook or maybe it goes to the neighborhood.  We didn't check it out, so I don't know.

When we got back to the yellow trail, there was a bit of confusion.  The trail looked like it was going to double-back on itself.  We stuck with the yellow blazes (and blue tape - trail maintenance?) and found our way.  There was a short little yellow spur (10-20 steps) that went up to what I am assuming is the peak of Sweetheart Mountain?

When the red trail went off to the left, we followed it, and again when the blue trail went off to the left, we followed that.  There was some confusion here, and perhaps the map would have helped.  The blue trail seemed to go in two directions, one looked like it was headed downhill back to the cars.  We took the other one, but did not follow it completely.  We went to where we could see a house.  The trail continues, but we headed back and hooked up with the red trail again.

Heading back along the blue trail.
Taking the red trail back toward the cars, was a good move.  Along here is the clearing that allows you a view of Collinsville and the Farmington River.

This was a nice hike with a good companion (even if he did talk too much about cars).  It will be worth a trip back when more people can join us.

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