Connecticut (Frissel Mtn, south slope, 2380', 3.6 miles, class 3, 600 feet gain)
After a cancelled trip to Killington to set up for the ski season, I decided to make a "quick" roadtrip to Mt. Frissel, Connecticut. The drive that I thought would be 90 minutes was closer to two hours, 2½ when I made a side-trip through Sharon, Connecticut, the birthplace of YAF. Before leaving my house, I could not find my NYNJTC South Taconic trail map set, so I printed a cheesy map off of Topozone, brought extra batteries for my GPS, and went on my way. I wish I had the detailed trails on that NYNJTC map with me, because when I arrived there I found a confusing number of trailheads both north and south of the massachusettes border. Since I had planned to take the longer, easier approach from the south, I had to determine which of the three gates south of the state line was the actual jeep trail leading to the tri-point, then to the summit. using the map and a bend in the road, i determined that it was about fifteen hundreths of a mile south of the bend at the top of a moderately steep hill. turns out that the correct jeep trail was the middle one.
When I find that map, many questions will be answered. Instead of going up the trail to the col between frissel and brace mtn that was marked on the map, i found myself on or near the summit of brace, slightly to the west of where i was supposed to be. Funny thing was that I didn't know it at the time. When I came to a trail junction, I used my compass and took the eastbound trail towards where I knew frissel would be. Two things concerned me: 1 was that I did not see the tri-state marker, which should have come shortly after the right turn. 2 was that I was going down hill when I should have been going up. Either the map was wrong, my compass was wrong, or I was wrong. All I knew was that if I continued going east, eventually I would either get to the summit or to the road that my car was parked on. And I was on established trails. So I wasn't too concerned.
After about a mile, I came across a trail junction, and then another trail junction, and then another. I was basically hiking blind, knowing that I was going in the right general direction. At each junction, I took a trail that made the most sense. Finally, I found a red-blazed trail, where after about 100 yards I came to thr tri-state marker. Greatly relieved to be back on track, I took a few pictures and looked on my map to figure out just what the hell had happened. At this point I realized that I had gone up brace.
The weather wasn't that great. The steep rocks between the tri-point and the high-point normally would be class-2, but they were wet effectively making them class-3 - I needed handholds to keep from slipping down. The trekking poles really got in way at this point. The steep rocks didn't last too long, and it wasn't too long after them that I came to the top of connecticut.
a four-foot-high cairn was there next to the notorius green peg, six inches high. If not for the cairn, the peg would have been easy to miss. I spent about 15 minutes there, where I took a bunch of pictures drank some water and ate two clif bars. I briefly pondered going to the summit of frissel, but with the navigation problems, the late hour, and with the 100-foot visibility due to fog, I decided against it. I packed up and was just about to leave when I spotted the corner of a blue container sticking out from behind a rock. Immediately recognizing it as a geocache, I quickly signed the log ("the first geocache I've ever found by accident!") and took off. The rocks were pretty difficult going down but not too treacherous. When arriving at the tri-point marker, I thought perhaps I would take the trail that goes due south along the NYS line. I decided that the next junction would be much more reliable - this is the junction that I thought was on the map because it was located at the col between frissel and the brace ridge.
I went to that col and turned south. After about ½mile, the trail just ended. Disraught, I decided to bushwack. After about ten minutes of this where I made sure to check and recheck my compass (found myself going the wrong direction on a couple of occassions), I finally found the trail that I had been on before. Followed that back for about 1½ miles to my car, got in and drove home. Suffice it to say that I'm eager to find the map to see just where the heck I was.
This looks like a beautiful area. I cannot wait to return on a clear day to check things out.