According to the National Geographic map that I have, this segment of the trail is 4.7 miles.
Starting Point: River Road Parking in Kent
Ending Point: Off road parking on Route 341
Covers: Saint John’s Ledges, Caleb’s Peak, Fuller Mountain, Glacier Rock & Numeral Rock, and then crosses a field with a footbridge, arriving at the 341 parking.
I woke up this morning with cramps and a headache. My dad and I had a day hike planned – just under 5 miles – and it was pretty much the last thing I felt like doing. The whole morning I dragged ass and by the time I got all of my hiking gear packed into the car, I’d decided that when I got to my dad’s house (10-15 minutes late as usual), I would try and sell him on the idea of staying home.
My thought was that we could do a run through of all our gear for an upcoming hike that we have planned. Not just any hike
– this hike is going to be our first over nighter since we decided to start hiking the Appalachian Trail and I wanted to set up our tents, cook a meal on the camp stove, etc.
So anyways, I got to his house feeling lazy, dressed in sweats, a comfy button down flannel, and a messy top bun. Despite my hopes for a relaxing day, I could tell right away before saying a word, that my idea of skipping the hike was not going to fly. My dad had my lunch on the counter, ready to go, and he himself was fully packed and ready to hop in the car. I’m pretty sure the first thing he said to me was “Wow, what a great day for a hike, huh? I can’t wait to get out there…!” I’m sure he was subtly hinting at my lateness.
So…I rearranged some of my gear as quick as possible, grabbed my lunch, and hopped back in my car to follow my dad to the first parking spot: Off road parking on Route 341. From there, my dad hopped in my car and we headed to River Road Parking, just before St. John’s Ledges in Kent, Connecticut.
Hiking from River Road to 341:
Pretty much right off the bat, you’re climbing up to the top of Saint John’s Ledges, which is a nice, steep hike that had me putting away my trekking poles and climbing up the ledge using my hands to grip the rocks. Whoever laid the large stone stairs on portions of this trail did an amazing job; Their handiwork definitely helps you navigate the steep climb! Even with the stone steps however, this is a hike that is going to get your heart pumping and might require a stop or two to catch your breath. The climb is really fun though and once you get to the top, you’re rewarded with a really pretty view!
This time of year is especially pretty since the trees are just starting to bud, giving the skyline a little extra burst of color. By mid summer, this view will be somewhat obstructed by the leaves. I’m sure that will be beautiful too, but for now I was happy to be able to see for a greater distance. The blue sky and a couple of soaring hawks made the view even more beautiful!
Happy to be on the trail, we kept a steady pace crossing over Caleb’s Peak (beautiful) and Fuller Mountain. We didn’t stop for long at Caleb’s Peak, because there was a couple having lunch there. We chatted with them for a bit, took a couple of pics, and then continued on. We didn’t stop at all at Fuller Mountain because there was a different couple lounging on the rock, overlooking the view. A girl was sitting down, with her legs crossed and her boyfriend appeared to be sleeping with his head in her lap.
Once we reached Glacier Rock and/or Numeral Rock though (I think they are in the same spot?), we decided to stop for lunch. We hung out there for a while and then eventually made our way down the side of the mountain.
This part of the walk was special because we had participated in a commemorative work party here last year. We spent the day clearing away leaves and debris, as well as re routing drainage paths for rain water. The event was a memorial for Arnie Wellman, someone who is special to my dad. It was nice to retrace the same path that we took that day in his memory.
The descent from this spot led us to a series of footpaths that kept our feet dry through a marshy forest, and over a decent sized stream. The water was crystal clear, with a few small trout swimming around. As we crossed a bridge made from 3 long logs, church bells echoed off of the mountain and added an ethereal element to the experience! The fresh air, the sun, the cool breeze…and now the sound of the church bells mixing with the sounds of the stream and birds chirping was so perfect. I can’t believe I almost tried to bail on this hike!
Last, but not least, we followed a few more footpaths through a large open field that ended at route 341, where we had left our first car, earlier in the day. If we were through hiking the entire trail, we would have another mountain to climb, waiting for us just across the street! Today however, we were throwing our packs in the car, grabbing my car from River Road and then heading home.
*We still had plenty of time to test out our camping supplies when we got back. 🙂