Accentuate the Positive

The editor of The Litchfield County Times, a 2010 SNA Newspaper of the Year, the national award-winning glossy magazine Passport and other publications, celebrates the best of what Northwest Connecticut and beyond has to offer.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reaching the Pinnacle

A view of Lake Waramaug, looking toward Warren and Kent from The Pinnacle, reached via trails in the Macricostas Preserve of the Steep Rock Association.

More than one noted nature writer has called September a season unto itself.
Here in Connecticut, especially, it may be the kindest month, the one with the most to offer.
Most of September, technically, falls into summer, but it's that waning-light saturated late summer; a season that's both summer and autumn at the same time.
That's the magic of September; layers of resonance that complicate our winter-is-coming thought processes When evening arrives earlier and earlier, when the late afternoon light is almost pink or purple because of the increasingly oblique angle of the sun, and when the underbrush that clutters landscapes and forests starts to die back, opening up views and allowing the super-saturated light to sink in and make everything glow---that's when going on an adventure is most rewarding.
Northwestern Connecticut is blessed with many wonderful and expansive nature preserves, including White Memorial in Litchfield and Morris and the Steep Rock Association in Washington.
That latter entity is the steward of three landmark preserves, each with its own attributes.
On a clear, warm Sunday in late September, I set out for the one that, unfathomably, I had yet to explore---the Macricostas Preserve, whose parking area is off Christian Street in Washington, Conn., just off Route 202, near its intersection with Route 45.
More times than I can count, I have walked in the Steep Rock Preserve off River Road, whose features include a short, dark and curving former railroad tunnel, and at the Hidden Valley Preserve, where my pas de deux with an angry goshawk has been well chronicled.
But the Macricostas Preserve had remained a mystery until now. Its of a recent vintage in the Steep Rock holdings, just a decade old this year. The preserve resulted, after a long narrative with plenty of twists, from plans to build something like 200-plus condominiums.
Now the property remains untouched swamps, fields and mountainous terrain.
The signature attraction of Macricostas is the trail that leads to what's called The Pinnacle---a feature that Steep Rock actually boasts in all of its preserves.
This pinnacle overlooks another local gem, Lake Waramaug, which is rimmed by Washington (New Preston), Warren and Kent.
The hike, about 2.5 miles round trip along the shortest of a few different possible routes, featured beautiful vistas, some moderately difficult climbing and then the reward of the spectacular Alpine views.
Take a look at the photos, and then take the opportunity this fall to explore Steep Rock and the charming village of New Preston, which is tiny but also full of smart, stylish shops and restaurants.

A view from The Pinnacle looking back over Washington.

From The Pinnacle, the Meeker Trail leads back through the Steep Rock Association's Macricostas Preserve, while June Road, a steep narrow road off Route 45 in New Prestion, is another point of entry.


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Location: New Milford, CT, United States

Executive Editor of a national award-winning publishing group with newspapers and glossy magazines: The Litchfield County Times, LCT magazine, Passport magazine, Fairfield County Life, etc. Contact me at

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