Wish You Wells From The Paugussett




Indian Well Falls - Paugussett Trail Shelton CT
Indian Well Falls - Paugussett Trail Shelton CT
The Paugussett is a Blue Blazed Trail that glides across a high ridge along the Housatonic River from Shelton nearly to Newtown. It turns inward and follows along Boys Halfway River through a verdant ravine. The views of The All American Valley are good. The hike, strenuous at times, is mostly comfortable and well traveled. Though the trail traverses two major parks, it also skirts residential areas. Your views will be fair and long, but as you approach Paugussett's overlooks your new neighbors will be overlooking you.



Just behind me; creak - crack - snap. But without the foreshadowed thud. On these crisp and high fidelity January days, when the colors are true and their edges sharp, the smallest sound is an avalanche of sensation. Twice in the last year great trees of the centuries have felled themselves in the forest as I have walked and wandered alone. Both occurred on as quiet and still of days as this one on The Paugussett. It is a remarkable thing to be in the presence of a great and noble thing as it dies and falls to the Earth; frightening and awesome.

There is tremendous energy stored above us. The sunshine, water, minerals, photosynthetic chemical reactions, and transpiration build one cell upon the next - growing outward and upward - each cell containing the energy required to grow it above the ground. All of the energy of centuries produced by the daily labor of life is saved and held in the compression pillars of a forest. When at last a tree falls, it falls not just with the force of gravity but with its entire store of energy in one moment of release. Its long life plays out in reverse and is condensed into one comprehensible minute.

Fallen trees provide many obstacles on The Paugussett. There are many from the recent Superstorm Sandy. But, as I walk the trails, the victims of Sandy can be defined by evidence left by trail crews which were quick to clear the path. Still, more recent trees have been felled by winter and age. The smell of pine is pungent. Some of the trees which have fallen are still very green and very much alive.

Crossing Boys Halfway River on The Paugussett Trail Monroe Ct
Crossing Boys Halfway River on The Paugussett Trail
The weekend that I walked The Paugusett followed a week of subzero deep freeze. Human life revolted at the cold. One could drive through Norwalk at 9am on I95 at a steady 70mph. And, I had my choice of seats on the train. Society just suddenly hushed up and huddled inside. I was not the first to venture out after the cold. A single track of bootsteps ruffed up the snow ahead of me. On the side of these hills that overlook The Housatonic, life was abundant and active. Bluebirds twitted and twilled from branch to branch. An Eagle soared and stalled in a puff of wind before me. Three times I scared up deer, once a family of seven and later a doe and an old buck sporting a triumphant rack.

This January, it is quiet and cold and slow and still on The Paugussett. But, life carried on in its tenuous balance. Today was not a day for giving in, or falling down.

The Paugussett Trail Shelton CT
The Paugussett Trail Shelton CT

TRAIL INFORMATION


From 82ft - 485ft above sea level | Max slope 27 | Average Slope 7 |

MILEAGE: TOTAL = approx. 9 miles / 4 hours

Indian Well Trail - White Blazed Trail  = .5 miles
Indian Well Trail - Bridge = 1.1 miles
Indian Well Trail - Thoreau Dr. = 3.8

Thoreau Dr. - Webb Mountain = .4 miles
Thoreau Dr. - 100ft Ledge = 1.4 miles
Thoreau Dr. - Cottage St. = 2.4 miles

Cottage St. - Boys Halfway River Crossing = 2.6 miles
Cottage St. - East Village Road = 5.3

COUNTY: Fairfield
COMMUNITIES: Shelton, Monroe
TOTAL MILES: 9.2 Miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
Lake Zoar
Indian Well Falls
Housatonic River
Boys Halfway River
Birchbank Mountan
Indian Well State Park
Hole Brook
White Hill Brook
White Hill Brook
Webb Mountain
Stevenson Dam
ARTICLE LINKS:
Wish You Wells From the Paugussett Trail - Connecticut Explorer
Aww Paw! Jus' Gussett! - CTMQ


DIRECTIONS

Address for your GPS: 189 Indian Wells Road, Shelton CT
| coordinates: 41.338784,-73.123954 |

From Bridgeport30 Minutes
From New Haven30 Minutes
From Hartford1 Hour
From New London1.25 hours
From Providence2 Hours
From New York1.5 Hours



View Paugussett Trail in a larger map


LINKS


Official Links:
Shelton Trails

Shelton Trails Blog 

Indian Well State Park

Webb Mountain Park

Blogs:
A Walk Across The Giant - Paugussett Trail

Connecticut Museum Quest - Paugussett Trail


PHOTOS
 
 CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

The Paugussett Trail Head at East Village Road Monroe CT
The Paugussett Trail Head at East Village Road Monroe CT



An Improvised Shelter along The Paugusett Trail in Shelton CT
An Improvised Shelter along The Paugusett Trail in Shelton CT




VIDEO


video



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.