I once praised in this column the virtues of trying something new. Overcome fear of disappointment, I said, and head somewhere you have not hiked before, even if it does not come with other people’s five-star ratings. I still have trouble taking my own advice. When I started studying the maps for the last miles of the Mattatuck Trail, I noticed things that might disappoint me. Hmm, those roads to cross and to walk along, how would they feel? What about the summit lookout towers, and the ski runs at the end of the trail? A magnificent November hike in the unspoiled Taconic Mountains was fresh in my memory. Would the Mattatuck Trail pale in comparison?
The day after Christmas, I drove through the dawn up routes 7, 202, and 45, noticing how the remnants of a week-old snow grew with the miles north and the elevation gained. By the backroads of Warren and Cornwall, these remnants were quite substantial. But also by this point, I began to like the look of the land. It was inhabited, definitely, but there was a high and isolated feel to it as if forest and swamp were big players around here.