Bigelow Hollow State Park

Union, CT

November 15th, 2015

click photos to view full size (in new window)

Group on Ridge Trail Bigelow Hollow is a big space and our first challenge was finding the right trailhead. Once we got our bearings straight, Hannah, Andrew, Io, and Laurel set out along the Ridge Trail toward Breakneck Hill and Cat Rocks, enjoying the lovely late autumn Sunday afternoon.

We soon crossed into Nipmuc State Forest, where most of our 8-mile hike would actually occur. Ascending Breakneck Hill, we pass through stands of bare trees and groves of green mountain laurel.
group passing through mountain laurel
bare trees
View from above Cat Rocks After a few miles of hiking we reach the top of Cat Rocks, and divert from the trail to explore the boulders and chasms below. To the east we could see the rounded summit of Hatchet Hill (center), a 1054' peak in Woodstock, CT. It's just 34' higher than Breakneck Hill which we crossed earlier.
Group above Cat Rocks
Cat Rocks Cat Rocks was like a huge playground full of boulders scattered about the hillside.
view through crevice
We climb around to explore the caves and crevices of Cat Rocks. This one had obviously been inhabited many times before. It features a fire pit, grille, and stone wall for added shelter.
Io, Hannah, Andrew and Laurel inside cave Io, Hannah, Andrew and Laurel explore another small cave down in the depths of Cat Rocks.
Hannah and tree Back above Cat Rocks, Hannah poses with a smiley face tree. Or at least it's a half smile!

We head further off into the wildnerness, continuing north along the Ridge Trail and doubling back though a series of U-turns as the trial descends from the hill and navigates it way around beaver swamps.

Group descending the hill beaver swamp

The beavers had definitely been hard at work, and we think the expanded swamp led to a re-routing of the trail. It felt notably longer than what was shown on the map.
fallen tree from beavers
beaver marks on tree
beaver tree The beaver tree looked soft and smooth but was hard and spikey instead!
Hannah, Andrew, and Io cossing bridge The sun was getting low by the time we finally emerged at the northern tip of Breakneck Pond, and we still had miles of hiking ahead of us to get back to our van. Hannah, Andrew and Io cross a bridge as we hike south along the pond's western shore.
Breakneck Pond
Laurel, Io, Hannah, Andrew and Greg With the sun setting, Laurel, Io, Hannah, Andrew and Greg take a rest at a campsite on Breakneck Pond. We snap our official group photo and reflect upon all the fun we'd had on our wonderful adventure.
group atop fallen tree Our trail was tricky and we were eager to reach the park road before darkness set it, but couldn't resist one more diversion out onto a fallen tree before saying goodbye to Breakneck Pond. While our hike took a little longer than expected, we made sure that every minute of it was time well spent!

View photos on Facebook
View photos on SlickPic

[Back to Past Events]   [Home]