One misty moisty morning
THE MATTATUCK BLUE BLAZED TRAIL
The Mattatuck mainline trail is a 36 Mile Blue Blazed Trail.It's Southern point begins at the Waterbury reservoirs in Wolcott and passes through: Plymouth Thomaston, Watertown, Morris, and Litchfield. It is Fragmented in Litchfield, but picks up again in Cornwall, drops into Goshen for a few miles and finishes at a junction with The Mohawk trail in Cornwall. Along the trail you will pass through the Mattutuck State Forest, Black Rock State Park, and The White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center
The word Mattatuck is American Indian and means loosely: the place without trees. The place refereed to is now Waterbury. But, in a historic irony land which now makes up the Mattatuck State Forest and Black Rock State Park was deforested; the wood being used as fuel for foundries and brass milling in the nearby Naugatuck Valley. While we lament the loss of heavy industry in Connecticut, it is fair to consider the cost of industry on our environment. During the depression, the Civilian Conservation Corp embarked on a massive reforestation project - planting tens of thousands of trees and instituting erosion control. The forests you are able to hike through on The Mattatuck Blue Blazed Trail is a product of extreme economic exploitation and extreme economic devastation.
4.5 MILE LOOP TRAIL - MATTATUCK & BRANCH BROOK TRAIL
On The trail I ascended to a 720' summit, descended and climbed again to Crane's Lookout at 780'. Beneath Cranes Lookout and just past the Jericho Trail junction the Mattatuck passes through a cave open on two ends. This is one of The Leatherman's caves. The trail then descends into the Branch Brook valley and is covered by a canopy of pines with soft packed earth beneath. The Branch Brook Trail is a dirt road that passes alongside the Branch Brook. I crossed Highway 6 and entered Black Rock State Park where I lost track of the Branch Brook Trail. I walked along the roads into the campgrounds and turned into the Beach Circle campsite where there is a trail to the beach. Just before a steel footbridge to the beach island a wide unmarked footpath veered off to my right. That trail reconnects to the Mattatuck.
THE LEGENDARY LEATHERMAN
What does it take to become a legend? A good dose of mystery, a heartbreaking love story, and some eccentricity all help.
The famed Leatherman of Connecticut walked a 365 mile loop between The Connecticut and Hudson Rivers, sleeping in caves along the way between 1858 and 1889. He wore a 60 pound leather suit in all weather and did not speak English. The legend tells that he walked the loop with uncanny punctuality - arriving at the Forestville Post Office every 34 days within a few minutes of 2pm. Because of his punctuality, locals who lived along his route were able to expect him to pass on a certain day at a certain time and prepared meals for the occasion.
The Leatherman was told to be Jules Bourglay of Lyons, France. He fell in love with a woman whose father was a wealthy leather merchant; and who forbade him to marry his daughter because of his low class. Because of his broken heart, he sailed to America and walked away his life dressed in leather.
He was buried at The Sparta Cemetery in Ossining NY. In 2011 his body was exhumed to learn more about him, his health, and how he died. In yet another mysterious twist, no body was found in the grave.
Lore has been passed down through generations about the Leatherman. A PBS documentary was made, and the Seattle grunge rock band Pearl Jam wrote and produced a song about him.
|LOWEST ELEVATION||360FT above sea level|
|HIGHEST ELEVATION||790FT above sea level|
|OUT & BACK||No|
|RESTROOMS||Yes - in Black Rock State Park|
CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO MAP MY HIKE INFO
Address for your GPs: 100 Bidwell Hill Road - Watertown CT
| Coordinates: N41.645783,W073.096645 |
|From Bridgeport||40 Minutes|
|From New Haven||50 Minutes|
|From Hartford||40 Minutes|
|From New London||1.5 Hours|
|From Providence||2 Hours|
|From New York||2 Hours|
View Mattatuck at Black Rock State Park.kml in a larger map
Mattatuck State Forest Trails Map
Black Rock State Park Trails Map
Black Rock State Park Camping Map
MORE MATTATUCK TRAIL SECTIONS COVERED BY CONNECTICUT EXPLORER
Documentary of The Leatherman
Pearl Jam's The Leatherman -1998 - B-Side to Given To Fly