Date of hike: 7/31/10

Trail conditions: Trail conditions are noted from N to S, which made all the difference in the end. The trail from the water towers near Rt. 68 south to Rt. 42 was dry and in good shape. Tent campers present on the trail at Roaring Brook falls. Trail finding was fine until it neared Rt. 42, at which point I whacked down to the road.

The stream at the base of Rt. 42 and Mt. Sanford is the last water on the trail until Sleeping Giant S.P. The trail is dry and easy to follow until it reaches the YMCA property. I hadn't been on the YMCA property in over ten years and consequently picked my way out to Downs road. Next time around I'll scope this area closely on Google Maps. The road walk to the next trail section continues to a dead end, before which the trail enters east into the woods.

The trail in the section south of Downs Road was dry and somewhat overgrown, but not too hard to follow. I did manage to miss a blaze at the end of this section, which put me on Paradise Rd. instead of Nolan. Another section I haven't visited in a long time.

Another road walk, this time to where the trail continues on Rocky Top Rd. A lengthy Bronx cheer to the landowner who decided to clear cut the swath from Rocky Top to the height of land. It's now 5 feet tall and very dense. Watch out for the raspberries and thorny vines in this hellish whack, especially with shorts. After that misery, the trail in this section is fine and leads to, guess what? Another road walk to pick up the blue trail on Whitney Avenue at Sleeping Giant S.P.

Before too long, the Quinnipiac Trail scrambles up the head/chin of the giant and works its way up and over the rest of him. As I approached the feet, the bugs began to swarm around my head. Out came the net. Five miles in this section brings you to Hartford Turnpike and a road walk to Toelles Avenue. Here, at the Quinnipiac River State Park, the real fun begins.

Though I was committed to finishing this hike and staying on the trail as much as possible it soon became apparent that this would be impossible. After picking my way around poison ivy for maybe a half mile, the blazes led straight into walls of vegetation 5-6 feet high. The bushwhack option had me picking my way through swamp, dense brush, thorns, razor-like grass, and more knee-high poison ivy. Did I mention ticks? I'd occasionally see a blaze, but no sign of anything remotely resembling a trail. This section should be considered abandoned and unusable in all but winter months.

I've seen threads that mentioned hiking along the highway as an option, and I've used it before, but you may want to reconsider. See comments.

Special equipment: DEET or netting from eastern Sleeping Giant to Quinnipiac River

Comments: Nice hike with some dissapointing sections. Quinnipiac River State Park? What a joke. While walking the last quarter mile to my waiting ride, who should stop to pay a visit but a friendly State Trooper! It's apparently not safe to walk on the edge of the forest, where hunters park their cars every fall and winter. So, as the final kicker, I was given a POLICE ESCORT.

Mark N