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Thread: Long Trail and West River Trail

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cumulus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Vernon, Conn.

    Long Trail and West River Trail

    Last weekend I joined in another trail work trip on the Long Trail with the Connecticut Section of the GMC. On Sunday I did a hike on the West River Trail.

    The Long Trail

    On Friday I came up separately from the other GMCers. I parked where the LT meets Kelly Stand Road and walked south to Story Spring Shelter. (The LT is also the AT there.) Along the way I removed branches and logs from the trail. At the shelter I met the other trail workers, Dick (our leader), Sven, Jim, and Kevin. They had been doing work further south. (The Conn. Section of the GMC is responsible for the LT from Glastenbury Tower to Kelly Stand Road.) The weather was clear and fairly warm. There were a few patches of snow, but nothing much, although a hiker came past the shelter later who told us there was still a lot of snow on the north slope of Glastenbury.

    That night it rained pretty much all night. In the morning it was still raining a bit, and kept it up for a while, but gradually stopped. We spent Saturday brushing and deepening water bars in the section from the shelter to Kelly Stand Road. When we got to the road I drove my car to a side trail the others knew about which is a shortcut to the shelter.

    After we got back to Story Spring it was midafternoon, and the other four decided to go home. I decided to stay, since I had a Vermont hike planned for Sunday. I was expecting to have the place to myself, but as I was eating supper the first of what turned out to be about twenty men and boys from some Delaware scout troops showed up.

    That night it rained again. When I got up, though, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. I packed up, hiked out the side trail, and drove to Jamaica State Park.

    The West River Trail

    Jamaica State Park is still closed for the season, but there's parking for hikers. The West River Trail is in several sections. The southern end of the northern section starts in the park. The WRT near the park is an old railroad bed, flat and wide. It follows the left bank of the river upstream. After a couple miles I took the Hamilton Falls Trail up to Hamilton Falls. This rises moderately steeply about a mile. The falls were very nice. They're 125 feet high, and with the recent rains were vigorous.

    After I got back to the WRT I continued north to Ball Mountain Dam. The trail ascends the dam face on some gravel switchbacks, which is something I've never seen before. I was surprised when I got to the top to see that the dam's not currently holding back any water to speak of. Not only can it hold much more than it was, but the muddy areas around the river make it clear that it usually holds more than it is now.

    After the dam the trail becomes a real woods trail for a while. I took it to Angel Falls (much less impressive than Hamilton Falls) and turned around.

    On the way back, almost to the end, I took a side trail called Overlook Trail, which, as it says, leads to an overlook, in this case overlooking the town of Jamaica, which is a classic small Vermont town nestled in the hills.

    I ended up doing about 12 miles on the WRT and side trails. If you're ever in the area and want a nice fairly quick hike I recommend going out to Hamilton Falls, which would be about 6 miles (4 very easy, 2 moderately steep) round trip.

    Here are my pictures of the Long Trail hike.
    Here are my pictures of the West River Trail hike.



    NE111: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2); Cat35: 25/39; WNH4K: 32/48; NEFF: 35/50
    LT NB 2009

    "I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
    - Lewis Carroll

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thank you for getting out there and helping to maintain the LT!

    The pictures were great and brought back memories of a rainy night spent at Story Spring last summer on our LT hike.
    NH48x11; WNH48; NE67; LT NB 2013; AT NOBO 2015, MSGT 2016, PCT 2017/2018

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    southern NJ
    Ball Mtn was intended for flood control, and is normally drained down in winter / spring. They fill it in summer for recreation. I was there late one winter when the river was still iced up and they started to release water. It was eerie to see water rising over the ice!

  4. #4
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Your picture entitled "West River" shows the first of the Dumplings. This set of large boulders forms an interesting S-shaped passage that is class 3--class 4 whitewater depending on the water level. (It merits a half page description in one of my old guidebooks.) Ran it in an open canoe many moons ago...


  5. #5
    Senior Member Early Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Hollis, Conway
    Thanks for doing this trail work, especially with the weather not being the best!
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

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