It’s finally here — the last step of Curtis’ Navy training before he goes on to do what he signed up for in the first place! Thankfully the next couple months of training are supposed to be less intense than the past 6 months have been. What makes this part interesting is that since it’s such a short amount of time in one place, he has to live in a hotel room for the entire time. Normally wives/significant others and families don’t join the service members for this part of the training, but we decided there was no reason for me not to come along. I work from home, so all I need is a good wifi connection. This gives us a chance to enjoy some extra time together in a new area. Also, we only have one vehicle, so it made things a lot easier. So here we are, living out of a hotel room in Southeastern Connecticut for the summer! (If my last post made you jealous of our upcoming move this fall, just know you have nothing to be jealous of right now, haha!)
Last Sunday, we packed up our Jeep with everything we think we’ll need for summer in CT, as well as moving to Hawaii, up until the day we move into a new place in HI and have everything else delivered. But not too much, because everything has to fit into our suitcases when we fly to Hawaii in the fall! The drive to CT was only 3 hours from our home in NY, but to make it more interesting, Curtis chose several hikes, attractions, and letterboxes to do on the way. We began by driving into Vermont through the Southern Green Mountains – the same road we enjoyed in both September 2015 and 2016 – but this time, we actually stopped for a short hike along the way. We have always stopped at a pull-off around Hogback Mountain, but never did anything more than admire the view. Today, we did the short 1.5 mile hike round-trip to Olga Mountain and back.
Just West of the overlook is a wide gravel lot where we parked. Signs posted in the lot stated that the trails were pending closure due to trail and noise abuse. It soon became apparent as we started this hike that those signs were referring to ATVers rather than hikers as the trail was well rutted. Otherwise, the hike was pleasant, passing by the towers and remains of a ski resort. But the most enjoyable part on the trail was the wildflowers the whole way up! There were white, yellow, orange, and purple blooms all around. I had assumed that wildflower season was gone with the spring, so that was a pleasant surprise! The peak itself was a wooded peak with a fire tower which offered expansive views to the South and East. After finding a letterbox, we returned back to the car. The peak is actually in Molly Stark State Park, but by starting at Hogback, we avoided paying the park fees and saved a couple miles of hiking.
Next, we finished the drive through Vermont, entered New Hampshire briefly, then drove South into Massachusetts. Our next stop was to hike Mount Toby in Mount Toby State Forest near Sunderland. We parked on the side of Reservation Road and began hiking the loop trail to the peak. We chose the trail that was longer with a more gradual ascent to the fire tower at the top, planning to take the steeper and shorter trail back down. When we began hiking, we passed several other hikers and dogs on the trail, and kept a fast pace to stay ahead. The trail again was wide and well-used — I prefer this kind of trail though, it’s better than walking on a narrow trail with tall grass where there are more chances to pick up ticks! Besides that, the trail had a very gradual ascent and followed a quiet stream.
I had seen there was a chance of rain and a thunderstorm in the forecast, and after the first mile we noticed the sky had gone from blue to dark with clouds. Naturally, I was worried, but Curtis assured me that if we heard thunder we could turn around. The storm never came, so we were able to reach the peak. Despite seeing others on the trail the whole way up, we were alone at the top, and were able to find one letterbox. Again, this was a wooded peak with a clearing and a fire tower, but still worth the climb nonetheless. Once we were ready to head back, we started down the steeper trail to complete the loop, but when seeing how narrow and steep it was, I requested we return on the same wider path on which we came. My reasoning was that we could probably move faster and safer in the event that it did start raining, despite the wider trail being about a mile longer. We made our way back, this time not seeing a single person — I guess everyone else either took a side trail or left when they saw the clouds moving in. Altogether, we hiked about 6 miles (it would have been 5 if we had taken the loop trail).
It was late afternoon at this point, and time to finally get on the interstate and finish the drive. We made one last stop in Springfield, MA, to visit Massachusetts’ Whispering Giant Statue. This one is located outside of Forest Park, right off the interstate. We found a couple letterboxes then continued the drive into Connecticut. Curtis had a few ideas of things to do on the final leg of the drive, but we decided to forgo them for tonight. We have all summer to explore this state, and it’s really not that big! We moved into our hotel room and settled in. The circumstances may be different, but we’re determined to make ourselves at home and enjoy it — more on that later. This also isn’t necessarily the most exciting area for us to be living, but again, we’ll make the most of the situation. Besides, we won’t be here for too long!