I left Queens around 7:00 a.m. and arrived at the forest at around 9:15 a.m. This was another hike in which I was following in the footsteps of Daniel Chazin, who had submitted the hike to the NY-NJ Trail Conference website.
9:19 a.m.: At the parking lot, I pass the kiosk and enter the trailhead of the Alander Mountain Trail, at about 1700′ elevation.
After crossing an open field, the trail entered a relatively dense woods.
However, the trail soon popped out of the woods and crossed another field.
9:31 a.m.: The trail then made a left turn and came to a brook, spanned by a footbridge. There had been significant rain and snowmelt recently, and the brook was therefore probably higher than usual. As a result, one end of the footbridge was under water.
The water was clear enough:
After 0.7 miles on the Alander Mountain Trail, I turned left (south) onto the Ashley Hill Trail. This trail ran parallel to the east of the Ashley Hill Brook.
9:54 a.m.: One complaint I had was that this trail (apparently an old woods road) was blocked in many spots by trees. I later learned that a number of trees had fallen during a winter storm about a month earlier, and the two park employees had been busy clearing other trails, but had not yet gotten to this one.
9:58 a.m.: A blockage that required that I detour off the trail.
10:19 a.m.: At first, the Ashley Hill Brook was far below the trail, so that I could hear it, but I couldn’t see it. However, after a while, the brook ran right beside the trail, which was pleasant to behold.
10:31 a.m.: More photos of the brook:
10:52 a.m.: There were also one or two spots where a stream crossed the trail, and I had to hop from rock to rock. My boots never got too wet, and the waterproofing was effective.
10:57 a.m.: After about 1.6 miles, the trail turned left, departing from the woods road and becoming a footpath. A hunter apparently left behind his spent shotgun shell. The plastic and metal shell is not biodegradable.
11:26 a.m.: The footpath.
In places, it was muddy or even submerged under an inch of water, which did not affect my boots.
11:33 a.m.: After about 2.7 miles on the Ashley Hill Trail, I reached a monument on the border of Massachusetts and New York, right around 2100′ elevation. One side was engraved “Mass.” and one side “N.Y.”
After another 200′, the Ashley Hill Trail ended, and I turned left (east) onto the Mt. Frissell trail.
11:45 a.m.: After about another 0.1 miles, I encountered a second boundary marker. This marked the intersection of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. One side is engraved “N.Y.”, one side is engraved “Mass.”, and a third side is engraved “1898”. I don’t know why “Conn.” was not engraved on the fourth side.
11:57 a.m.: I continued following the Mt. Frissell trail east, as it began climbing..
Looking back toward the west, I was rewarded with a nice view.
12:04 p.m.: About 0.2 miles from the tri-state point, I reached the highest point in Connecticut, at 2379′. A couple—let’s call them “Chris and Liz”—was eating lunch there, so I only lingered long enough to snap a few shots toward the south, of Lake Riga, at 1752′ the highest lake in Connecticut.
I continued another 200′ up the trail and had a broader view to the southeast:
Speaking of the “High Point” of Connecticut, it is on the slope of Mt. Frissell. The peak of Mt. Frissell is in Massachusetts, however. Thus, Connecticut is unique as being the only state in which its highest point is not the peak of a land feature. I therefore continued east on the Mt. Frissell trail, heading for the peak.
12:14 p.m.: About 0.2 miles past the tri-state point, I reached a spot where the trail began descending sharply, and I realized that I must have passed the peak. Before returning to the west to look for it, I snapped a few photos toward the east.
12:19 p.m.: After backtracking 0.2 miles, I found the peak of Mt. Frissell, at 2454′. It is apparently marked by a cairn that is several feet off the trail. [Maybe there is a formal marker that I did not see.] A log book is also there, inside an aluminum box. [Of course, the highest point in Massachusetts is the peak of Mt. Greylock, at 3489′. I hiked there the previous season.]
I recorded my name in the log.
The cover has an engraved nameplate “Optime Ambulate,” which Google Translate says is Latin for “walk very well.”
12:31 p.m.: The couple who had been enjoying lunch at High Point, perhaps the “Chris and Liz” who had signed the log book before me, walked by toward the east, so I returned west to High Point. Here is a cairn to draw attention to a tiny brass marker with a vertical post in the center, marking the highest point in Connecticut. It’s not Everest, but it’s still got Florida beat.
A close-up of the “high point” marker.
I then continued east on the Mt. Frissell Trail, passing the intersection with the Ashley Hill Trail and continuing about another 0.3 miles past that, until it ended at the South Taconic Trail.
1:11 p.m.: The South Taconic Trail provided very nice views towards the east of the New York Taconic area.
Toward the south, I had a view of Mt. Brace, at 2311′ the highest point in New York’s Dutchess County.
A big cairn is on top, with a wind sock. (People hang glide off Mt. Brace.)
1:19 p.m.: I then began hiking north on the South Taconic Trail.
1:48 p.m.: I couldn’t really tell if this was meant to be a wall (for a boundary marker) or if people were just moving rocks out of the way for some reason.
2:06 p.m.: I was able to get by this fallen tree without trouble. Only the Ashley Hill Trail had a problem with blockages.
2:22 p.m.: The South Taconic Trail had dropped to about 1500′ elevation, running through the track of an old woods road, but here the white markers indicate a sharp turn to the right, away from the wood roads.
2:23 p.m.: A sign confirmed that this was the path of the South Taconic Trail.
2:34 p.m.: This became steep, climbing about 700′.
3:00 p.m.: After about 3.3 miles on the South Taconic Trail, I finally made it back to open rocks with nice views.
Turkey vultures soared on the thermal air currents.
3:03 p.m.: Self-portrait/shadow:
3:04 p.m.: Stitched panorama.
3:18 p.m.: I arrived at the peak of Alander Moutain, where the foundations of a fire tower remain. The peak is at 2239′.
Magnetic and triangulation geologic survey markers are present, at 2231′:
3:27 p.m.: I began my descent, heading east on the Alander Mountain Trail, heading back to the parking lot. This is a cabin that can be used by campers.
4:07 p.m.: Again, I’m not sure if this is a boundary marker or what purpose this wall served.
4:20 p.m.: I reached a beautiful spot where the trail crossed a wide stream.
Happily, a substantial bridge was provided for hikers.
4:41 p.m.: I returned to the bridge I had crossed at 9:31 a.m. One end was still underwater.
I returned to the car around 4:52 p.m., having hiked about 12 miles in 7½ hours.
* * *
5:11 p.m.: On the drive to Mt. Washington State Forest, I had passed nearby Bash Bish Falls State Park, also in Massachusetts. I stopped off there on the way back. A trail ran about ¼ mile to the falls, dropping about 300′. Here is a makeshift bridge for crossing a wet area.
5:22 p.m.: I made it down to Bash Bish Falls, a waterfall with a drop of about 80′, which is fed by most of the brooks and streams that I had seen in Mt. Washington State Forest.
I then climbed the 300′ trail back to my car, and drove home.