Here's the new pull-off on Buddington Road at the powerlines. I recommend backing in like the car you see in the photo so that you can more safely pull out onto Buddington Road. The spot is next to the mailbox for #184 Buddington, but the number "1" has been lost and it just says "84" now.
There's an access trail leading from the pull-off down to the Blue Trail. The access trail is marked with small blue squares, while the main trail is marked with long blue rectangles. The Eagle Scout bridge built by Josh Kreitler is right at the beginning. Before all the rain, there were lots of tadpoles in the water, but they seem to have been washed away by the storm a week ago when 4 inches fell.
After several water crossings that were more challenging than usual due to a good six or seven inches of rain in the last week (water-proof boots and a walking stick are helpful just now), the trail rises up to a promontory. I remember standing on the ridge before the city bought the land and thinking this is exactly where the trail would go. Nice.
Then there is the haunted mountain laurel thicket (does that blazed tree in the photo above look like it has two eyes and a mouth?) and before you know it, you're ready to cross the powerlines.
Beautiful! You might hear ravens while hiking this new section of trail. They must have a nest nearby.
The blazes slip behind the mountain laurel and into the forest, but not before a decent view from the ledge outcrop, especially now when the mountain laurel are blooming.
There's a quick descent through the forest to a low spot that was fairly wet today, but it's not as hard to cross as it first looks. There are plenty of roots and rocks to step on. If you hear a frog that sounds like a plucked banjo string out where the wet spot turns into a cattail marsh under the powerlines, those are Green Frogs. Then the trail heads up a knoll and passes a short side trail to another ledge lookout under the powerlines. It's only 20 or 30 feet from the main trail. Nice place for a picnic.
From the lookout, you can see the tower you just walked under. The cattail marsh is down below, and was a real barrier to the trail, since the wet area extends into the woods.
And before you know it, you've come to Nells Rock Trail, blazed white. Today, the blue blazes still turn right to follow the trail, but very shortly they will go left instead, to follow the white trail for just 100 feet or so before turning right.
And then your objective is to climb up to this rock. The route was marked only with survey tape today, and not raked out. I hope to finish it off tomorrow.
Near the top of the ridge, you walk along the base of this ledge, then do a sharp switchback to climb on top of it.
There. Now you're looking down on Nells Rock Trail far below. I've been hiking in this area for twenty years, but was never up on this knoll before looking for a location to reroute the trail.
It's an attractive, flat-topped knoll, with plenty of rock features to walk along. It's a nice alternative to walking along the White Trail.
And then 2/3 of a mile from Buddington Road, the new route rejoins the old route along an old woods road. A bit further on is what we call "Four Corners," which is the big intersection between the blue, white, and fading yellow blazes at the #6 waymarker.
Coming back down the hill towards Nells Rock Trail, it started to rain, and these rocks didn't look like they would offer much shelter. But the leaves blocked most of the rain and by the time I got home the sun was back out.