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Thread: Circling Breakneck Pond

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cumulus's Avatar
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    Circling Breakneck Pond

    On Saturday I hiked around Breakneck Pond in Nipmuck State Forest in Connecticut, with short sections in Bigelow Hollow State Park and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    It started snowing lightly early on and kept doing so for the rest of the hike. When I finished there was about an inch on my car. The snow on the ground was fluffy, and when I broke trail, which was most of the time, I would sink in about a foot.

    I started out in Bigelow Hollow, took the White Trail briefly to Ridge Trail, which I took to its end. Ridge Trail was broken out for about a half mile. After that there was a clear trough covered with the latest snow for about a mile. After that I was following the blue and orange blazes, which were fortunately pretty frequent. Ridge Trail goes up over Peter Rabbit Rock, and then across the Cat Rocks, which are hills and ridges with occasional viewpoints. On this part of the hike I could faintly hear I84 in the distance, but besides that and the blazes I was completely in the wilderness. After the ridges the trail drops down, and crosses the state line several times. Note: The State Forest map and the Connecticut Walk Book East map disagree on where the trail goes in this section. I think the Walk Book is right.

    At the end of Ridge Trail I turned east on the Blue & Red Trail and rockhopped across Breakneck Brook. Soon I saw a snowmobiler turning around in front of me. Besides a group at the trailhead headed somewhere else, this was the only other person I saw the whole hike. I followed the snowmobile tracks down the Blue & Red Trail, which became the blue blazed Nipmuck Trail when it crossed the state line. Soon after the snowmobile tracks and the trail split and I was breaking trail again. This section of the Nipmuck follows the eastern shore of Breakneck Pond. There wasn't much elevation gain here, of course, but for some of it I was sidehilling, which isn't great for trail breaking.

    After I passed East Shelter there was again a trough in the trail. For a while there I was following tracks made by a skier and a dog. Then I was breaking trail again. When I got to the southern end of the pond it got confusing; I couldn't find where the Red Trail went. I saw the South Shelter, though, so I headed there, and then headed west, picked up the Red Trail (which had the deepest drifts of the day) and then found the White Trail. The White Trail was well broken out and I cruised back to my car.

    The drive back was an adventure in itself. I made it home though, and half way up my driveway.

    The whole hike was seven miles, for about five of which I broke trail. It took me six and a half hours.

    Here are the pictures.

    --

    Cumulus

    NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
    NE111 in my 60s: 10/115 ( 8/67, 2/46, 0/2)
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    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 Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting your TR on Breakneck Pond. Brings back good memories! That area was an old stomping ground of mine. I used to hike, ski, and skate up in there in all seasons. A little bit of Maine woods in CT. This was long time ago before they had digital cameras. Good to see they are taking better care of the place. Back then you could drive your 4-wheel drive jeep up in there in winter and right conditions and car camp out by the pond and listen to the ice cracking all night long. I remember ice skating for miles on ice a foot thick and clear as a bell. Pond is quality enough to have pitcher plants and cranberry bogs. Nice to see the hemlocks on the shore line getting taller and handsomer. There wasn't much in way of trails except for the jeep trails which provided fine cross country skiing. Bigelow Hollow is nice in its way too.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #98 of NEHH
    On #45 of WNH48

    "Commuter—one who spends his life
    In riding to and from his wife;
    A man who shaves and takes a train,
    And then rides back to shave again." EB White (1899-1986)

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2014
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    Tolland, CT
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    Awesome trip report. I live in Tolland, so I head to Breakneck regularly when a quiet hike is desired. I haven't been up there since we've had snow, but now I have snowshoes and no excuse!

    After spending years tent camping with the Scout Troop at the same site, one of the kids built that shelter as their Eagle project. I can remember winter camping there, running along the ice..the sounds it makes! They still go in the Spring (I volunteer as a Scoutmaster now), but never seem to be able to reserve that shelter haha.

    Hopefully, I can talk my wife into trying a night of camping out there this year... It's an easy spot for someone who's never done any camping besides from a car.

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