East of the Oblong A Walk on The Saugatuck



view of saugatuck river snow covered and ice forming on January first - taken from the Saugatuck trail nearest Deer Hill RD.
Saugatuck River, Saugatuck Trail- Redding CT
The Saugatuck Trail climbs and falls through thick forests along the picturesque Saugatuck Reservoir. It is a welcome scenic get-away around the corner from urban population centers in Fairfield County and NYC. There are a number of parking spots, making it easy to split up this trail into two or three out-n-backs. Or you can create some loops by using connecting trails from the adjacent Devil's Den Preserve.




Connecticut's territory extends West to the Pacific Ocean --- says the English Colonial Charter. Unfortunately, The Duke of York's land was in the way. Suffice it to say that some epic centuries-long squabbles took place and the end result was the CT panhandle encompassing Fairfield County in all of its glory, while a mile wide strip beginning in Ridgefield that extends North to Massachusetts known as The Oblong was given to NY in exchange. Ha! Take that New York. Consider that a Yankee Prank.

Being a Fairfield County resident, It is difficult to understand why this land was fought over. It seems to be an armpit overrun with cars and primadonnas more than a panhandle or a region of enormous wealth and resource. But, that's just an opinion ... and all is not lost. There are some terrific preserves and state forests that have been carved out the jungle-of-human-madness-and-consumer-disease that is my fair Fairfield County. If you meet someone out on the Saugatuck Trail they are likely to say hello to you rather than show you their middle finger - and that is indeed refreshing.

(To those not accustomed to kindness and human decency, beware. It may take many walks along the Saugatuck before your numbness and paranoia subsides --- "Hello" is in fact a greeting used by others to acknowledge and show respect for your presence and an invitation to return a warm gesture.)

Life in all seasons on The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
Life in all seasons on The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
Speaking of refreshing, it is the first day of a new year and a crisp 35 degrees. A 5 inch blanket of powdered snow lays fresh on the ground, and where the water is still along The Saugatuck, thin sheets of ice are crystallizing.

This may not seem like an ideal time for a 6 mile hike. But, I found that the scenery was more spectacular in the monochrome contrast of Winter. Vistas unknown in Summer are revealed through bare limbs. Life (abounds) clinging in protected crags. These micro-ecological communities can easily become extended metaphors for the resiliency of life in nearby NYC. Around every corner, at every hour of the day, in every season Life grabs hold and is busy with the activity of survival

It is haltingly quiet in the valleys along The Saugatuck in this season. Have you been fooled into believing that the land beneath your feet is asleep? Have you been fooled into believing that you are standing in a vast wilderness far distant from the urban crush? For a few hours on a sunny afternoon I was just such a happy fool.

The Saugatuck Reservoir, From The Saugatuck Trail in Weston CT
The Saugatuck Reservoir, From The Saugatuck Trail in Weston CT


HIKE INFORMATION

MILES7 MILES
TIME3 HOURS
LOWEST ELEVATIONunknown
HIGHEST ELEVATIONunknown
CALORIES BURNEDn/a
LOOPNo
OUT & BACKYes - Single Track
PARKING LOTYes
RESTROOMSYes -portables at various intersections with roads


SAUGATUCK TRAIL MAP
COUNTY: Fairfield
COMMUNITIES: Redding, Weston
TOTAL MILES:7 Miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
Saugatuck Reservoir
ARTICLE LINKS:
East of the Oblong - A Walk on The Saugatuck
-Connecticut Explorer
I Came, I Saugatucked, I Conquored - CTMQ





DIRECTIONS


Address for your GPs:
Deer Hill RD. Trail Head:  41.293511,-73.379598 | 50 Deer Hill Rd. Redding CT
Davis Hill RD. Trail Head:  41.248973,-73.353034 | 190 Davis Hill Rd. Weston CT

From Bridgeport15 Minutes
From New Haven50 Minutes
From Hartford1 Hour
From New London1.5 hours
From Providence2.5 Hours
From New York1.5 Hours



LINKS

The Saugatuck Trail Map
 
Cliff diving and Rock Climbing Devil's Glen Park
 
Walk CT

HikeCT

Hiking Trails in Redding

Rock Climbing The Great Ledge


PHOTOS


CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES
The Saugatuck River, along The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
The Saugatuck River, along The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT

 

Wood like Stone, along The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
Wood like Stone, along The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
The Saugatuck Trail, Blue Blazed, in Redding CT near Tudor Rd
The Saugatuck Trail, Blue Blazed, in Redding CT near Tudor Rd

The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT
The Saugatuck Trail, Redding CT


WINTER HIKING EQUIPMENT

Trekking poles are optional in CT for most of the year, but they are good to have during winter to prevent side slipping. You can get a cheap pair at Dicks Sports. And, you can spend a lot on mountaineering level poles at Eastern Mountain Sports. I got a mid-range pair that are telescoping and have several exchangeable feet options and snow baskets - Pacemaker Trekking Poles . They make me feel like spiderman on steep climbs. But, they are best for trails that traverse parallel to hills and descending steep loose rock - which is a common challenge on Blue Blazed Trails.

Gaiters are good for winter hiking. They prevent snow from packing into your shoes. I went with a low rise version so that I can wear them in summer as well to prevent ticks from sneaking in at my ankles. Outdoor Research Bug Out Gaiters

There are several options for traction control on ice slicked trails. Crampons are heavy duty and will allow you to cross frozen falls with relative ease. Crampons are usually paired with an ice axe to arrest your fall - so that should give you an idea of the intensity of mountaineering that crampons are used for. But, for CT hiking you probably won't need full on crampons or even snow shoes. There are two traction control brands that are best for Blue Blazed Trails. In CT the trails are very rocky, and spikes are awkward when transitioning from snow and ice to rock and stone. I have pull-on Icetrekkers Diamond Grips. But, I would give Microspikes a shot too.