Nature’s Gems

The trails of Chauncey Peak and Mount Lamentation are full of nature’s special gems scattered throughout its woods and ridges.  In every season you are bestowed gifts of wildflowers, creatures and views.

Mike and I have traversed these trails in every season, as a point to point, loop hikes and power fitness hikes.  We always have the same starting point on these adventures, Giuffrida Park in Meriden.  We follow the blue Mattabessett Trail markers past the “warning” sign of danger  that lurks on these rocky trails and up the steep, rock strewn incline.

The first time I attempted this climb up, fear gripped me and it took me at least 25 minutes to get to the top of Chauncey Peak.  The last part of straight up, using handholds to boost myself up almost had me crying. I succeeded and conquered that slab of rock. After five hikes up here, my last time was a powerful 12 minutes and the fear had evaporated.

Nature waited to display her first gem to us, the view on top of Chauncey Peak.  It clearly flaunted our own Sleeping Giant in New Haven in the distance.

Over to the right of Sleeping Giant towered Castle Craig.

Following the trail you pass a quarry on your right. Along this stretch we uncovered some gems in various seasons.  In summer nature nourished us with rich blackberries.

In spring nature treated us to Dutchman’s breeches, Nightcaps and budding maples.

As we followed the ridge, we gazed down on Crescent Lake and headed off of Chauncey Peak. 

Down we descended, while being treated to ferns unfurling from the rocks.

If you want to keep this a short walk, cross the stream and turn left.  Follow the path by the water, gazing up at where you just walked.  This is a peaceful pine forest to finish your hike.

However if you are up for adventure, after crossing the stream go right and head up to Mount Lamentation.  Here nature amazed us with gems of the insect variety.  A beautiful specimen of a dragon fly, spider webs with their makers, and a grasshopper that posed.

The first time we did this as a point to point, the trail led us astray.  Someone had painted over the blue blazes and we became a bit lost.  We did eventually find the trail that led us to Lamentation Drive in Berlin.  It added another mile on to our mileage.

Mike and I later went back starting at Lamentation Drive in Berlin to see where we missed the trail makers to the correct path.  When we discovered where we went off trail, Mike did a little trail maintenance so others wouldn’t make the same mistake.

If you want to make this a loop trail and head back to Giuffrida Park, follow the yellow trail blazes back to the blue markers.  On this path, we were greeted with more spring flowers Trout Lilly and Stinking Benjamin. 

Stinking Benjamin is reported to smell like rotting flesh, don’t know if I consider that a gem of Mother Nature.

We will continue to hike this area in all seasons, knowing that Mother Nature will grace us with her gems of the forest.

Until the next hike…

The details:  Starting at Giuffrida  Park in Meriden the first 1/3 mile is strenuous, make sure you are in good cardio shape.  As a short loop hike just up and around Chauncey Peak a little over two miles.  As a point to point ending at Lamentation Drive in Berlin, a bit over five.  To do the loop from Chauncey Peak  to Lamentation back to Giuffrida over 4.5 miles. Time spent is anywhere from an hour and half to four hours.

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