Mt. Frissell – 04-18-04

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      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Jerry Bresnahan on June 6 2004 at 3:40 PM]

      I scrambled up Mt. Frissell, the Highpoint of Connecticut at 2,380 feet, on Sunday, April 18th, 2004. It was my 20th state highpoint.

      I drove north from Salisbury, CT following the directions provided in the Winger’s guidebook ‘Highpoint Adventures’. Mt. Washington Rd. was blocked by large boulders .1 mile south of the MA/CT state line. Apparently the owners of the property allow access to the highpoint from the south but don’t want traffic from the north passing through. There was a parking area at the trailhead for Bear Mt. Approx. ¼ mile south of the boulders. There were no vehicles parked in this parking lot although the Bear Mt. Trailhead parking lot on Rt. 41 was full as I drove south from MA.

      The temperature on my car thermometer read 65 degrees when I parked my car and started the hike at 11:45AM. I immediately realized that I had left my insect repellant back at the condo in Lenox, MA when I noticed quite a few bugs flying around my face. Thankfully they were not mosquitoes or other biting insects. I walked north along the road into MA and found the trailhead for Mt. Frissell on the left. There were several vehicles parked in the area with the “AMC” sign. After hiking for about 15 minutes I reached the steep area that required some scrambling. I had expected this steep area but was somewhat surprised to find that the trail remained rather steep and rocky during the remainder of the hike. I met several women hiking together along the trail. One, the Mother, was 60 years old and said she had been hiking in VT & NH all her life and this was the hardest hike so far. As I slowly approach the big 60 myself (I was 57 at the time of this hike) I notice that each new hike often seems to be the most difficult so far. I wonder if in fact the hikes are actually more technically difficult or if it’s because I’m just getting older. Shortly after speaking with these women I unexpectedly reached the summit of Mt. Frissell, which is actually in MA, at 12:30PM. It did not feel like a summit and I probably would have missed it if I hadn’t looked to the right and noticed two large cairns. Trees surrounded the area and there were no views from this summit. As I approached the cairns I saw the sign-in book in a tree. I sat and ate my sandwich and signed the book. As I looked through the book I read and entry on 03-28-04 by Charlie Criss of Eagle River, AK. He said this was his 15th HP and AL would be his next. He was doing the state highpoints in height order, FL, DE, LA, etc., and said he did not know of anyone else who is doing or has done it this way. Wow! I thought I was doing a lot of driving and traveling. Imagine the time and cost involved in criss crossing back and forth across the country.

      After about 20 minutes I continued on the trail for 5 minutes to the actual HP marker, which is in CT. It would be easy to miss if not for the large cairn next to it. 10 minutes later I reached the Tri-State marker. I did not notice CT carved on the marker. Maybe it was worn off or covered with dirt. Shortly after I met a local red neck couple, and their dogs, with matching his and hers hunting knives that looked brand new. They acted like this was their first adventure into the great outdoors and seemed to not have a clue where they were or what was in the area. I gave them directions and told them a little bit about what was in the area and continued on to Brace Mt, which is in NY. There were some fairly nice views along this trail from Mt. Frissell to the Tri-State Marker but the views from Brace Mt. were spectacular, even though it was a cloudy day. The summit of Brace Mt. Felt like a true summit with a large cairn on top and 360 degree views. It was well worth the extra distance and effort.

      As I left Brace Mt. I missed the trail back to Mt. Frissell, which turns rather sharply and steeply to the right. I continued on to the north for about ½ mile before I checked my compass and finally realized my mistake. I thought the trail seemed a little easier than it had earlier. I backtracked and hiked back to my car the same way I came. I would have liked to hike to the summit of Bear Mt. But it was getting late and my 88-year-old Father was waiting alone at our timeshare condo in Lenox, MA. I brought him to visit the areas that his parents are from in nearby Great Barrington, MA and Winsted, CT. We used to spend the summers, with my Grandparents, in Great Barrington. He hadn’t been there in over 30 years. We had a nice time and it brought back some good memories. I arrived back at our condo at 4:00PM with plenty of time to get ready to take my Dad out to dinner.

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