Soapstone Mountain

Location: Shenipsit State Forest, Somers/Stafford, CT

Links: CT DEEP; Trail Map PDF; AllTrails; Caretakers of Soapstone Mountain Facebook

Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Time: 10:45 am – 2:15 pm

Hike Duration: 5 miles; 3.5 hours

Stats: Approximately 12,300 steps; 64 floors

Weather: Mostly overcast with occasional sun breaking through; 35-40 degrees F

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Our lunch with a view

Every once in a while we have a hike that is so memorable because of the magnificent way we get ourselves lost in the woods. This was one of those hikes!

It started out innocently enough. We planned our route on the trail map, with the intention of exploring the woods and timing our arrival at the top of Soapstone Mountain for our lunch with a view.

We parked in the lot just off Gulf Road, then crossed the road to explore some of the trails to the east of the mountain. Our plan was to take the blue trail to orange trail, which would loop us back to the west of the mountain, to pick up blue trail again to the mountain.

However, some of the trail markings got a bit confusing and we missed our crossovers, going much further to the east than we had planned.

I don’t usually mind getting lost in the woods (within reason!) Dennis has an incredible sense of direction and I can’t tell you how many times he’s brought us to where we need to be, despite my worry.

Unfortunately, I have the worst sense of direction! I’m finally learning to just trust him in those moments. I like being able to just wander along, on the trails and in my mind, knowing he’s my anchor to the path.

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Heading up Soapstone

Getting lost in the woods today was a bit more worrisome when we heard gunshots in the near distance. It is hunting season, and we do make sure to wear bright fluorescent clothing. But still. Hearing shots in the woods makes me get a sick feeling in my chest and stomach. Dennis assured me that what we were hearing sounded more like target practice than actual hunting, although I wasn’t sure if that made me feel any better!

We eventually found our way back to where we had made our mistake of missing the trail crossing. At this point, we reassessed our route and decided to just make our way up the mountain.

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The view was spectacular! There was also a large picnic area, complete with picnic tables, so we chose one and enjoyed our lunch with a view.

There is an observation tower at the top of Soapstone that was, quite unfortunately, closed for repairs while we were there. At the time of writing this however, it’s open again! You can see some pictures on their Facebook page (see link above.)

Because of the repair work, we weren’t able to locate the trail we had initially planned to use to descend the mountain. So we re-routed once again and took the white dot trail down for an extremely steep descent. Yikes!

Pictures never seem to do these things justice. This was probably the steepest descent we’ve ever done and it was scary at times. Especially for someone who has a slight fear of heights!

We would like to revisit so we can check out the observation tower. I’m thinking maybe next fall during peak foliage season.

Here’s to the unexpected adventures of getting lost in the woods!

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