By Guest blogger Shelley – Cheshire Store Manager
My boyfriend and I drive up and down 691 often and always see the castle in Meriden and say “let’s go there some day!” Finally this week we made time to do it as we had the same day off and it had finally stopped raining. We grabbed our dog, Jackson, and headed off to Hubbard Park.
We followed the suggested route to make it up to the East Peak/Castle Craig [White/Red/Blue] [Moderate, 3.9 mi, 1,080 ft total ascent, 3.0 hr] but it didn’t take us quite 3 hours- we went at a pretty good speed. We found the trails pretty well marked and any time we were unsure of a path, Jackson’s nose moved us in the proper direction.
The blue trail was very steep and rocky terrain and we think some trekking poles would help us feel a bit more secure on this portion of the trip. When we got to the first overlook, it was very rewarding- seeing over the lush forest of trees and past the park into the neighborhoods of Meriden was really impressive.
Of course I included a requisite picture of my feet up on the side of a cliff- love my XR Mission trail runners- comfy cushion and support but with enough traction for dirt and uneven rock surfaces.
We continued on the blue trail to the castle and even though this peak is slightly lower than the west mountain, we still felt on top of the world! Jackson was a little nervous up in the castle; he prefers to be on the dirt trail! When we had to return to the white trail we found it was just as steep as the ascent. As soon as our legs were losing the ache from the hike up we had to use those muscles to control our downward motion- what a workout!
Down at the bottom we were again rewarded with a beautiful sight- the Merrimar Reservoir. We took the opportunity to sit by the water and relax for a bit before continuing on the last bit of trail back to Hubbard Park where we enjoyed our sandwiches and soaked up a bit more sun. This was a good short hike. It was tough at the beginning and moderate to easy the rest of the way, no need to really bring more than water if you want to travel light.
Gear of Choice –
North Face Borealis Backpack
X Bowl (for the dog’s water!)
Salomon XR Mission
Nike Dri Fit Tee