Ives Trail Finale

On the Boardwalk

On the Boardwalk

I thought ‘Finale’ was an appropriate word as Charles Ives was a composer, after all. And final-e I have completed the Ives trail! It did involve repeating a little ground I covered recently, but it was free of snow this time, so a different experience.

It turns out my AMC club was covering the whole trail in two hikes this weekend and next — first the eastern portion and then the western. So I took advantage of this fact and did the eastern half with them yesterday, completing the trail for me.

They have done this trail in big portions like this in the past, and even the whole 20-mile trail in one day, but up until now I always had something planned. So I was doing the trail my way, when I could, in little out-and-back pieces. It being so close to home has helped me knock off a large portion of it before now.

Trail thank yous

Trail thank yous

Down the road, I will be able to do longer sections of trails with less out-and-backs and loops. And while I enjoy any hike for the mental and physical benefits it brings me, I will be honest that having to double the mileage to see a whole trail means I have less time to explore others I’ve been wanting to. I get plenty of solo hikes in, and the convenience of car shuttling is hard to beat when I want to explore more new trails. I don’t mind the company either, especially when Fielden Stream or the kids can’t join me. I had been hoping there would be another Ives trail group hike scheduled soon, and I got my wish.

Beech and Laurel

Beech and Laurel

We met at Tarrywile Park and drove down to the Redding train station, which is about a half-mile road walk from the trailhead. Turns out we probably could have parked along the road at the trailhead, but it wasn’t exactly a tough walk either, and there was no question that we could park at the station. There is a preserve here called the Bogus Brook preserve with its own blazed trails that crisscross the Ives trail, which used to be one of these itself. Here it shares the route with its former self, a white-blazed trail called the Bogus Brook trail. I enjoyed following a different set of white blazes. After a quick ascent up to a good-sized hill, it descended and crossed a railroad track for metro-north.

It next winds through the woods of another local nature preserve until arriving at a half-mile road walk past beautiful mansions. Clearly they could not get right-of-way here because of the large swafts of private land in the area.

Climbin' ropes!

Climbin’ ropes!

This was further evidenced in the next portion where large fences cordoned off large, empty sections of woods along property lines. Seemed an awful shame to have these unsightly fences all through the woods, protecting seemingly nothing. My only positive guess to why these are here is to keep pets on the property or wild animals off, though no houses could be seen so these are obviously large tracts of land. We followed a ridge for a mile or so before crossing a brook and reaching an old woods road which we followed for another mile or so. Then, as it reached a house, the trail re-entered the forest and climbed the steep hill I finished my last snowy hike here on top of.

This is where the fun started.  I am so glad I did not venture down this hill in the snow last time. It was steep, undeveloped trail that would have made for a nice slide on the way down, and a tough climb on the way up.

Finished the trail!

Finished the trail!

Fortunately, and for good reason, there is a rope tied to a tree and hanging down the side of the hill for the tricky spots. It wasn’t that tricky going up this time except for one spot where you needed to scramble up a 3 ft rock face that was dripping wet. So I used the rope.

We took a break at the top, as it was not only a great spot in the snow last time, but even better without it. We took some group photos and I had the group leader take a picture of me poised on the rock in the center of this spot, as I said a little “woo-hoo.” Trail complete!

We then proceed down the hill and into Tarrywile Park for a few miles, passing the neat little bus stop shelter (and map-less kiosk) and along the edge of the pond before reaching our cars. I’ve spent a lot of time in the park these last few months, and on the Ives trail. I’ve had lots of adventures and ups and downs (pun intended) along the way, and look forward to returning when I can. For now, its on to the next one.

Ripples

Ripples

Although I have lots of ridge running to do this season on the A.T. in Connecticut, as well as the New York section to finish and the Massachusetts portion to start, I am thinking I will try and complete the Housatonic Range trail and or the Mohawk Trail before the end of the year as well.

Happy Trails.

Miles: 8.02 not including the walk from the station.

— Linus

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