I have traditionally done a nifty little loop around Sleeping Giant in Hamden CT on the last weekend in April in past years, but not the last couple years due to more important things to deal with -- namely my now-two-year-old twins. This year, however, with good (yet warm!) weather looming, I decided it was time to revive that tradition. I took one of those more important things, strapped him into his car seat, and made the short drive to Sleeping Giant State Park. (My wife went shopping with our daughter.)

We had obtained one of those carry-your-kid-on-your back contraptions last year, but with the kids' age among other factors, we didn't attempt anything very big. On this occasion it came in very handy. With Henry secured on my back, we headed out of the parking area heading east on the yellow trail, traversing the southern side of the mountain to get to some ledges on the southeast end of the ridge. We got some nice views of the Quinnipiac campus at the foot of the mountain, with some hazier looks out to New Haven in the distance. Far more fun were the stream crossings, which my son remarked by announcing "Water!" every time we got to one and asking "More water?" once we were on the other side. He made lots of other exhortations, too, along the lines of "Leaves, Daddy!", "Hi, Doggy!", and "Up the hill, up the hill!"

Somewhere on the trip down the yellow trail to the trailhead on the backside of the mountain, Henry fell asleep, making for some very quiet time in the woods. At the junction, we picked up the violet trail to loop back behind the mountain. This section of trail has been very wet in past years, and while still wet in spots this year, it was not nearly as much so as I have been used to. Henry woke a while later, shortly before we ascended a moraine, and as we climbed he reminded me, "Be careful, Daddy, careful!" Soon after this he heard an airplane and, pointing skyward, said, "Airplane, where?" I looked up and found it, saying "There it is!" and Henry emphatically pointed "Right there!"

From this point I told Henry we were following the purple squares to find the red circles, to which he said, "Red circles, okay. C'mon, Daddy, let's go!" Soon we took the red circle trail uphill, picking up the blue trail on the ridge, at which point it became our mission to follow the blue rectangles to the tower. We went up one steep chute and from there it was a fairly flat walk to the tower, which Henry at least once referred to as the "Eiffel Tower" -- somebody knows his mommy is heading to France in June. Good, hazy views of New Haven and the surrounding area from the Tower (713 ft.), along with a pair of hawks that flew by in the distance. At this point, we'd been gone a bit longer than I'd intended, so we braved the crowds and headed straight down the gravel footpath (might as well be a road) known as the Tower Trail, passing many doggies on the way. As we approached the parking area where we had started, Henry called out, "Bye Sleeping Giant! See you tomorrow!" Well, we didn't go back yesterday, but we definitely will sometime soon.

Stats:
5.5 mi.
2 hr. 15 mins.
No photos (isn't carrying a 26-lb. two-year-old on your back enough? )
No ticks (so far as I know...)