Page 27 - Wallingford Magazine Holiday 2019
P. 27

 We started our hike at the south end of Fowler Mountain, just east of Whirlwind Hill and west of Paug Pond, and we planned to follow the Mettabesset trail to the base of the first of the three peaks. When I asked my brother how far this walk would be, he said, “Not that far.”
side. I was ready to quit, but Dean prodded, “Come on Carol. It’s worth it.”
And it was worth it. When we reached the top, the view was spectacular. To our left we saw all the way to New Haven and the Long Island Sound, and to the right we saw Meriden, Hartford, and beyond. And then suddenly my brother said, “Here’s the name!”
   Hepatica
On an outcropping of rock overlooking Whirlwind Hill and the Ulbrich Reservoir, were letters and num- bers carved into
the face of the rock.
My great-grandfa-
ther’s name, W.E.
Hall, was easy to
see, and the date
1874 showed that
William was prob-
ably thirty-seven
years old when he
carved it.
the best. The trail, although steep and treacherous in places, was wide and fairly easy to follow. A thick layer of leaves hid tricky piles of rocks and twigs, but also revealed lovely spring wildflowers – adders’ tongues, hepaticas, bloodroot, and
 spring beauties.
A cabin used to stand
somewhere on the ridge of Fowler Mountain, but we would need more time on another hike to find it. It was already proving to be a much longer walk than I had planned on, and “not that far,” began to seem like wishful thinking. I could see on my phone map that we were still a long way from the Three Notches.
Happy with our findings, we took photos of each oth- er and of the spec- tacular view and then began the long trek back to the car.
It was so quiet
Dean and Kirt on rock
up there. There was a peaceful solitude that seems hard to come by these days. We could see why this spot was a favor- ite of our ancestors. It makes me happy that I have a focus for these mountains beyond Whirlwind Hill. The distant view is more meaningful now that I know that on that high windy rock some of our fam- ily history is set in stone.
 At the end of Fowler
Mountain, we found a marker for the George Wash- ington Trail. Although the plaque itself was gone, the
My brother had never climbed the Notches on foot, but Dean had hiked there fairly recently, so he agreed to guide us on this sunny, but windy, af- ternoon. Neither Kirt nor Dean had seen the carv- ings on the rocks.
Determined to go on the hike despite a bad cold and a worse fear of ticks, I sprayed myself with a ridiculous amount of bug stuff and hoped for
Kirt with rock
George Washington Trail Marker
post was enough to show us the place where our first president and our ear- ly ancestors crossed the Metacomic Ridge on their way from Wallingford to Durham.
Ahead of us was an- other steep incline, which I hoped was the first notch, but in a “The Bear Goes Over the Mountain” scenario, the climb was even steeper on the other
Carol and Kirt
 Dean leading the way
(This story originally appeared in Carol Crump Bryner’s blog, “On Whirlwind Hill.”)
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