Despite bouts of snow and chilly temperatures, spring is on its way! Squashed flowers and cold students alike are being revitalized by the occasional warm and sunny days. If you are looking for a way to spend some time outdoors, or a way to procrastinate, go for a hike. There are lots of great locations just short drives from campus.
This weekend, I went for a quick hike at Giuffrida Park in Meriden, about fifteen minutes away from campus. The park has six different trails covering 600 acres of land. The park’s geographical highlights include Crescent Lake, Lamentation Mountain, and Chauncey Peak.
According to ctparks.net, the park has quite the history. Lamentation Mountain earned its name in 1636 when a search party found a Wethersfield colonist on the ridge three days after he had gone missing. The website says the mountain was named “Lamentation” because of the emotional state either of the lost colonist or his search party.
In the early 1700s, the land that is now Giuffrida Park was owned by Jonathan Gilbert and Captain Andrew Belcher. They ran “Meriden Farm,” which gives the town of Meriden its namesake.
The reservoir, now called Crescent Lake, was built in the late 1800s by the Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company. International Silver later bought the property for use of the reservoir, but eventually gave access rights to the City of Meriden in times of drought. Today, the reservoir still serves as an emergency water supply for Meriden.
Connecticut Light and Power later bought the land, but sold it to the City of Meriden in 1965. The park was named for Dr. Francis Giuffrida, a well-loved city surgeon who passed away in 1966.
Next, I had to choose a trail. I chose to hike a combination of red- and blue-blazed trails, which gave me a one-hour hike, the perfect amount of time to de-stress, but not long enough to stress that I wasn’t working. Described below are directions for the hike I took.
Walk below the dam to the opposite side of Crescent Lake. There will be one unmarked trail, which goes straight up Chauncey Peak, and another blue-blazed trail that goes a little to the right. I followed the blue-blazed trail. The hike is easy at first, but quickly becomes a steep rock scramble. The view at the top makes the challenging climb well worth your efforts. Standing 688 feet above sea level, Chauncey Peak provides a beautiful view of Meriden, Conn. and Crescent Lake, and a hawk’s-eye view of Suzio Quarry.
Continue following the blue-blazed trail and descend along the ridge. Shimmering Crescent Lake will be on your left for the entire descent.
At the bottom of Chauncey Peak, cross a small foot bridge and follow the blue-blazed trail to the right. After a few minutes, you’ll reach a meet-up of the blue- and red-blazed trails. Follow the red-blazed trail to the left. Walk up a ravine on the red trail until you meet up with the blue-blazed trail again.
You can follow the blue trail back to the parking lot or follow the red trail and climb higher up Lamentation Mountain. If you chose to climb higher, you will pass a shelter and enjoy numerous scenic overlooks. Where the red and blue trails meet for a third time, follow the blue trail back to the parking lot. Walk along a mild and flat trail through fields and along the lake all the way back to the parking lot.
Take a minute to relax on the benches overlooking the lake. I sat down and tallied the wildlife I’d seen: two ducks, one bunny, some squirrels, two woodpeckers, lots of little birds, and three dogs with one human—Giuffrida Park is much more alive than the University at 7 a.m. Happy hiking!