Ever since I was first introduced to the world of hiking a few years back, it has become an obsession of time. I find myself craving more time outdoors, taking time to enjoy nature and climb mountains whenever possible.
Most recently, I’ve attached a goal to my love of hiking: to hike to the top of all of the high peaks in the United States. Any chance I have a free weekend, I find myself looking up potential road trips to states nearby in hopes of hiking to the highest point of each one. Last weekend, it was all about climbing to Connecticut’s highest point.
What’s most interesting about Connecticut is that its highest point and highest peak are on two different mountains. The highest peak is Bear Mountain, but the highest point is on Mount Frissell, a mountain whose summit is in Massachusetts. That leaves Connecticut’s highest point directly on the border between the two states.
Early Saturday morning, a few friends and I hoped in the car and headed two hours north. Driving past rolling green fields, patches of sunflowers, and the occasional farmhouse, I immediately fell for the areas of New York and Connecticut that we were driving through. It was peaceful and full of natural beauty.
After driving through the quaint town of Salisbury, Connecticut, we turned onto Mt. Riga road. It was a normal paved road, that eventually turned into an unpaved one. At the end of the road, there was a damn, and we turned right, following the road until we reached the AMC parking lot.
We parked and headed up toward the state line marker on our on our right, and on our left was another small parking lot and a gravel path marked with red trail blazes, the trail that would lead us to the highest point in Connecticut.
After my last hike to the highest point in New Jersey, I was worried that the trail would be overgrown and buggy. But, as soon as we started on our way, I was pleasantly surprised. Instead, it was clearly, and even though it was rocky, it was a mild day and there were no bugs to bother me on my hike.
Eventually, we came to our first scramble, one of many on the trail. Even though in my mind, I tend to dread a scramble before I get to it, they always wind up being my favorite aspect of a hike, as they tend to change things up a bit. I love being able to really use my body in different ways to make it up to the top. Plus, they tend to break up the monotony of continuous walking and add a challenge, even though the scrambling on this trail wasn’t difficult or technical.
After climbing up a few of these, we eventually reached the top of Round Mountain. Here, we took time to enjoy the views, but were a bit confused as to where to go, thinking we were close to the high point. Instead, we eventually discovered a trail blaze and continued on our way.
We headed down off Round Mountain and then scrambled up Mt. Frissell, following the red blazes. Here, we reached an outlook that offered views of green mountains and a lake, along with an abundance of grey clouds.
A little further up, we reached a cairn that marked the highest point in Connecticut, along with a border marker, and a container with a notebook for people to write down that they had made it to the high point.
There was no real view here, but the excitement was not in the view. Instead, it centered around reaching my third high point. We encountered others on the trail, who were reaching their sixteenth or twenty-fifth high point, and this just inspired me to keep on going. Three high points may not be anything exciting, but the feeling of having three down is enough to motivate me to keep on hiking and going after my goal.
Full of adrenaline and excitement from reaching the high point, we easily made our way off the trail and back to the car. Then, we celebrated in town with burgers and a cocktail before hitting the road again. It was an easy day trip from Northern New Jersey, and it was nice to escape to the country and mountains for the day.
This weekend, I’ll be tackling the high points of Massachusetts and Vermont, crossing two more high points off of my list. While I’ve been to both states before, I can’t wait to see another side of them by spending some significant time in the mountains. Stay turned on Instagram and Twitter for immediate updates of my progress.