The Hike Strikes Back – Sleeping Giant, thunderstorms, and dogs

The second entry into the Hiking Plan

Having spent 2 weeks ago doing irreparable damage to my legs, feet, and knees getting great exercise and then having guests in town last weekend (the last reunion of the Brohirrim, as a matter of fact), this weekend seemed ripe for another hike.  Martik and I had another hiker with us this time: a dog who stayed with us for a week, and for the purposes of this post, he shall be referred to as “the dog.”  We drove over to Sleeping Giant, a park in CT with around 10 trails that crisscross all over a mountain, which according to some onlookers who had connections in the Department of Naming Rocks, looks like a sleeping giant (a very creative bunch, they were).  With over 30 miles of trails to choose from, all of which connect at various points, we certainly had our choice of options.

Being an idiot, I decided “let’s take the most difficult Blue Trail to start,” and so we started up the ~55 degree incline.  At the top, we started off along the cliff edge, grabbing some great photos… and then having to grab the dog and carry it down some 5 or 6 foot steps in the rock face. We quickly realized that we would prefer to walk out of the park on our own feet, not in a stretcher, and so we walked back down and started the curlicue pattern that took us a good 4 hours to do, something like 10 miles.  Got a bunch of great photos and saw much of the park, eventually ending up at the tower in the middle of it.  Took a short break, commented on how nice it was that the weather had seemed to cool down, and then after our third hour of hiking, the final 60 minutes involved one hell of a torrential downpour of a thunderstorm.  Amazingly, the dog was completely fine with it, and seemed to rather enjoy the huge puddles where the trail used to be.  We rode the lightning to a certain point without seeing anyone else out in the storm, and then we encountered for the fifth time, The Talker.

She was encountered several times over the course of the day, and seemed nice enough the first several times.  Oh, there were the usual warning signs, which we failed to heed: she had a stovepipe hat on at one point, and was discussing her log cabin background to a crowd of onlookers at another.  Unfortunately, her Lincolnian tendencies slipped by us until it was far too late, and we ended up hiking the same trail with her for 30 minutes or so, during which time 1) Martik and I got a total of three words in (“make,” “it,” and “stop” to be specific); 2) we heard all about the joys and terrors of a promotion where she didn’t understand her job responsibilities; 3) how “4 score and 20 minutes ago, she LOVED hiking” and how she STILL loved hiking at that moment, and how her future seemed poised to involve LOVING hiking; and 4) many, many more.  A very nice young lady, but enough words to fill the gap in the ozone layer and have plenty of spares.  Never a dull moment, on our hikes.

Now I, like the park we visited early, shall enter into my true form: the Sleeping Giant.

Photos

Everything from trees and cliffs and clouds, to the dog, to a shot from my involvement in the cinematic masterpiece Platoon:

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