Monday, December 30, 2019

Pondering a New Tahmore Trail Route

Existing trail in red, flagged reroute in orange
(Google Earth with vertical exaggeration)
Last fall, the east half of the Tahmore loop trail was fixed up, so our attention turns to the west half. This section of trail has not been maintained in a few years as logistics and permissions are sought for a new route. The trail is managed by CFPA on land owned by the Shelton Land Trust and the State of Connecticut (Indian Well State Park), with support from the Shelton Trails Committee. It's part of CFPA's 825+ mile system of "Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails" and is considered a side-loop of the Paugussett Trail.

The old (existing) route always had bad footing along the southwest lobe, with some steep sections and a wicked side slope in places which was treacherous when covered with oak leaves and acorns.  A lot of people slipped and fell down. There used to be a scenic meadow there with cattle and at one point even alpaca, a highlight of the trail, but a large house in the style of a cabin replaced the meadow recently. The northwest section was much easier where the trail followed an old road, but took hikers along the edge of backyards. 

Flagged route in gray

At the same time, the nearby hilltop has seasonal views of the Housatonic River Valley through the trees and a sense of being at the top of the world. The goal of the reroute is to eliminate the steep sections of trail, pull the trail back away from houses as much as possible, and bring hikers to the top of the hill, a natural destination that's a 350-foot elevation gain from the two nearby parking areas at Indian Well. 

The hilltop has seasonal views of the river through the trees

 After a number of site visits we've marked a preliminary route with survey tape and are now waiting for review from CFPA headquarters and then the Shelton Land Trust. The old road section of existing trail would remain open as an easy bypass for locals who don't want to go up the hill, with a short connector allowing them to bypass the old southwest lobe.

Old Route (click to enlarge)
The flagged route is 0.1 mile shorter than the old route. The old route had an elevation gain of 190 feet going clockwise, a loss of 150 feet, and an average slope of 10% but with some very steep sections and bad side slopes. The new route would have a gain of 150 feet, a loss of 108 feet, and an average slope of 12% that is pretty steady.

New Route (click to enlarge)
The route that is currently flagged is a rough draft that could change drastically based on input from CFPA and the Land Trust. Stay tuned!


UPDATE January 10, 2020: CFPA has approved the reroute! Now all we need is final approval from the Land Trust.

UPDATE January 13, 2020: The Land Trust has given their final approval of the reoute. We are all set to go!

WORK PARTY: Saturday, April 4, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm, meet at the end of Tahmore Place. GPS address #30 Tahmore Place, Shelton, CT. Raindate will be April 11, same time. Great opportunity for High School community service hours.

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