Litchfield County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: November 3, 2006
Author: Ben Knorr

failed attempt

I didn't bring either of my highpointing books with me on this trip. I didn't even have notes or maps for any of the CT highpoints. However, I did stay with my aunt and uncle with internet access the night before so I had a last chance to study up on where to go. Earlier in the day, I feel reasonably sure that I found New Haven's highpoint as well as Fairfield's highpoint.

I left late from Vernon. By the time I left the state line on Fairfield's highpoint, it was getting late in the day. My car GPS guided me successfully to Factory Street in Salisbury, CT. May it be noted that I carried no maps whatsoever on this whole trip. The Mt. Riga Road was where it should be and I took it. Mt. Washington Road was also in the right place. I only carried rough hand-written directions that I scribbled down the night before. At first, I pulled out at a trailhead for Bear Mountain. The direction of the trail immediately led me to believe this wasn't the right place. I turned back and soon drove further down the road. Within a few hundred feet of the eventual AMC trailhead, a black bear scurried across my path.

- Going to Connecticut on frequent flyer miles to "bag the easy Connecticut counties": $12.00 in fees

- Renting a "mid-sized car" and getting a Jeep Grand Cherokee for "easy Connecticut roads": $72.00

- Feeling humbled by the rough road, bear in close proximity, snow clouds moving in, nearing darkness,
  no headlamp (!@?!- Why would I be out after dark here?! they're "easy"!): priceless

I started out with a few sentences that essentially just stated the following: "Go up rocky path, turn left. Eventually rocky path will have another junction on the left that will be marked with blazes. Arrive at state highpoint." I wrote UTM coordinates for all the other county highpoints but not this one because I figured: hey, it is a state highpoint, it will be obvious where to go. I arrived on what I later discovered to be Round Mountain. I spotted cairns everywhere but no registers or state line markers. Hmm.... what to do? I called a few people and eventually got a hold of a buddy with Internet access. I pleaded for proper coordinates for the actual highpoint, since I wasn't finding it here. Right then, "beep beep: battery low." ARG! The time was about 5:00PM, the sun was behind clouds, it was getting darker every second, I had no headlamp, and the snow was starting to fall. What to do? I patiently waited on Round Mountain and got a call with the coordinates. The phone stayed on long enough to get them into the GPS. I decided to go all out and try to run up the trail to reach the actual highpoint on Frissel since it appeared that I wasn't there yet. I went down to a saddle and started back up on Frissel itself but, in the approaching darkness, I got to a point on a steep trail where fallen leaves obscured the trail. I couldn't figure out where to go. I bailed less than 1/4 mile from the alleged "correct" highpoint.

I had a hard time negotiating the wet rocks while coming down from Round Mountain. Once I got back onto the main trail, there was almost no daylight left because of the cloud cover. Luckily, I arrived back at the jeep just as the snow started again.

I'll be back with a map, a light, and some common sense next time.