by Shaina Blakesley
The first day of Spring, March 20, is quickly blossoming. There will be no more snow, warm sunshine kissing your cheeks and grass tickling your toes.
Central Connecticut’s very own Blue Devil, Kizer, took his first hike of the year.
Kizer explored the Hubbard Park in Meriden, ventured off the paved path towards the pagoda known as the Halfway House and trekked up the steep rocky incline towards the haunted Castle Craig.
The legend began nearly 100 years ago, and it surrounds this mysterious little black dog that leaves no trace and doesn’t make noise even when it is barking. The myth continues that if you see it once you will have good luck, twice and you will experience sorrow and a third time is an omen of death.
The park and castle are part of the Hanging Hills, expanding to approximately 1,800 acres including a jungle gym, picnic areas, man-made waterfalls, fountains and James Barry bandshell.
A majority of the land was gifted to the town by Walter Hubbard, president of the Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company in Meriden. He built the stone tower, Castle Craig, to resemble the structures the Turks built along the Danube River in the twelfth century. The tower stands at 32 feet and its bases’ circumference is 58 feet long; Castle Craig is 976 feet above sea level.
On a clear day, you can see the Sleeping Giant hills to the south, the Metacomet ridges to the north and even further in the distance, Mount Tom in Massachusetts and the distant hills of the Holyoke range.
The paved trail to Castle Craig is roughly six miles and the overall elevation is 850 feet. This path takes you around Mirror Lake and is relatively easy for the average hiker, child or four-legged friend. The trail is considered to be an out-and-back type setting because you hike the same path both ways.
Don’t be fooled, there are other less direct ways to reach the infamous Castle Craig. The off-the-beaten road trails require more expert skills. Kizer had no fear and traveled the rapidly inclined and slightly hidden East Peak trail to the top and refreshed his batteries on the same road down. The hike takes roughly three to four hours to complete, but the breathtaking views along the way make it worth it.
Kizer enjoyed the crisp air that wasn’t tainted by study notes, sharpened pencils and anxiety. The hike encompasses many different paths that any novice or expert hiker could enjoy.