I parked at a trail entrance located on Andrews Street in Southington. This turned out to be a costly mistake. When I returned to my truck after a short hike, I found a $30 dollar parking ticket on my windshield. It was issued by the water department from the town of New Britain who apparently own the surrounding land. There were no signs visible near the trail entrance stating that parking was not allowed. Instead of arguing my case, I decided to send out some e-mails to see if a no parking sign could be put up in the area. I'm hoping that I might be able to help prevent someone else from getting a ticket for parking there. If I had read this post from the Connecticut Museum Quest website, I could have avoided getting a ticket altogether.
When you're hiking in an unfamiliar area, it's best to familiarize yourself with the hiking trails in the area before you get there. A great site for information about hiking trails in Connecticut is the Connecticut Explorers website: CTxguide.com.
My original intention was to visit a portion of the traprock ridge that I had never seen before called Ragged Mountain. I headed over to the trail on West lane in Kensington where there is approved parking. From the entrance you take the main trail and then veer left onto the blue & red trail which will take you right up to Ragged Mountain. There was a memorial at the top in memory of Darin Findley, who died during a climb here in 2003. The hike to get to the top of the ridge was a little longer than some of the other trails that I'm familiar with but it was worth the effort. On my way up I saw deer, Belted Kingfisher, Wild Turkeys, and 2 Pileated Woodpeckers having a squabble with a Sharp-shinned Hawk (the hawk left first). There were numerous kinglets in the area with the vast majority of them being Golden-crowned Kinglets.
I also saw numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers that were feasting on cedar berries.
The next day I visited another portion of the traprock ridge in located along the Mattabesset Trail. This photo is showing the deeper end of Black Pond which is located along the Middlefield/Meriden border.
The species of birds that I saw on this portion of the ridge were very similar to the ones I saw in Southington. Here is a Red-tailed Hawk surveying the scene and watching the man laying on the rocks trying to take pictures of him.
The high ridges are a good place to get a close view of vultures and other birds of prey in flight. I had to back off on the zoom to get these flight photos to come in focus so I used 10x instead of the full 18x. The sun was shining brightly on the Turkey Vulture when I took this photo. I thought the lighting effect from the camera was strange but interesting.
Along the trail I passed Powder Ridge Ski resort which closed down years ago. In 1970 a music festival similar to the one in Woodstock was supposed to take place at Powder Ridge. I found a detailed account of the event which includes photos of the concertgoers and a concert poster listing the original lineup of performers. It included big name acts like Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac and Janis Joplin. The event started to fall apart over legal issues. The only originally scheduled singer to perform was Melanie , who was best known for her song "Look what they've done to my song-ma." She avoided legal trouble by agreeing to perform for free. Another species that I saw a lot of during my hike was the Hermit Thrush. I counted six of them during my hike along these trails.-
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There were two Osprey at Black Pond. I attempted to capture them in flight but barely managed to keep up with them.
So, if you live in Connecticut or you are here for a visit , be sure to explore the traprock ridges. It's hard to beat the scenery, especially in the Fall . If not, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.