Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Town Hill, Middle Mountain, Thomas Mountain, Moses Mountain, CT
Trails: Ives Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, October 22, 2015
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Limited parking near Starr's Plain Rd off of Route 7. I would suggest parking in the Tarrywile lots off of Southern Blvd and Brushy Hill Rd.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Multiple water crossings, but due to the dry weather, most of the brooks, streams and springs will be either dried up or have significantly less flow.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Signs are missing near the summit of Thomas Mtn down to the Terre Haute trail, where the Ives' again connects. You will come to a 3 way branch-off at the top of Thomas Mtn. The path to the left (south) may or may not connect to Terre Haute, I don't know as I haven't travelled it. On my topo map, it peters-out in the stonewall ruins. To the right (north) takes you off the Ives' and down the ridge. Go straight (west), which will take you directly to the Terre Haute section of the Ives', and from there you should be OK.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: The whole trail is open to dog walkers, but be warned: most visitors in Tarrywile do not leash their dogs, even though it is state law and city ordinance to do so (yes, there are signs posted, but most people disregard them). Please keep your dog leashed, there have been too many cases of lost dogs who run away from their owners to chase a squirrel or deer and are never seen again.  
Bugs: This time of year, you won't have to worry so much about biting insects due to the frosts, particularly the hard frost a week or two ago. Ticks, on the other hand, are active in temperatures down to 32 F at ground level, so be aware.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing, but hikers occasionally lose bits and pieces.  
Comments: Started in the morning on the 20th (Tuesday), came back on the 22nd (Thursday) in the morning. This was a bush-biking trip for me. Please note that there are sections of the Ives' Trail that (unfortunately) do not permit mountain biking. The section I traversed from the Ives' House to Starr's Plain Rd at the foot of Moses Mtn. is open to mountain biking. If you start at the house and go all the way to Starr's Plain Rd and back to the House, you will have travelled roughly 14 miles.

I did not attempt the 8 mile long section of Wooster Mtn State Park, Pine Mtn, Hemlock Hills, an Bennett's Pond because I do not know if biking is permitted. The section that branches off from Tarrywile to Bethel and Redding, if I remember right, is not open to mountain biking, but I'll leave that research up to you.

One more thing: I talked to the Fire Marshal at town hall in Danbury, and open fires are permitted in Danbury on public land only if they are used as a cooking fire, and not a larger diameter than 3 ft. Do follow all safety precautions with an open fire. Make a call to the Danbury Fire dispatch to tell them that you plan on having a fire at the location you are at, how long you intent to have it last, and give your name and address to the operator. This is not legally required, but it's a nice thing to do out of courtesy should someone see smoke and dial 911, thinking a brush fire started.

A better option is to use a portable wood stove (like an Emberlit or Vargo Hexagon), and because the fire is contained, you do not need to make the courtesy call to fire dispatch. Contained fires such as this are permitted on all public lands in Danbury unless stated otherwise. In Tarrywile park, you do not need a permit even though the signs tell you you need one. I talked to the Fire Marshal, and the only thing you really should do is give the fire dispatch a courtesy call as described above if you plan on having an open fire.

As a final note, please follow Leave No Trace principles. Tarrywile park has become a despicable trash dump because of careless visitors and summer outers. Pack out what you carry in - bring a plastic grocery bag or two with you for your garbage...they take up little space and hardly weigh an ounce or two. With fires (both open and contained), let it burn down to ash, and sprinkle water over the ashes and remaining embers. Make a hole a few inches or so in the middle of where the fire was, and pour water down into the hole to cool the ground. Now to the dampened ashes and coals in your hands and either cast them about around you, or bury them. Then (if you had an open fire) put a fresh layer of dirt over the fire scar on the ground, and use leaf litter and a few twigs to cover the area. It should not look like you or anyone for that matter was ever there, and this goes for your campsite as well.

For cooking, it is much more convenient to use a backpacking stove. I prefer the ultralight DIY alcohol stoves, but please note that below 32 F, they won't work unless you warm up the stove and fuel, and keep it out of the cold. They're good for 3 season use, but in winter, go with Esbit tablets.

One last thing:
It's probably a good idea to store all your food (unless it's unopened vacuum sealed pouches like Backpacker's Pantry dehydrated meals) and any utensils that have touched food or have been cooked in (except boiling water) in a bear bag. Choose a tree 100 yards from your campsite. Hang the bear bag 20 ft or more up in the tree out on a branch that a bear cannot reach without falling. This means you will need a medium or large drysack to hold the food, and 40 ft or more of paracord or some other cordage (preferabl brightly coloured so you can find it again). Tie a slip not on one end and pass a stick through it. Take the cord in your hands and cast it with the stick up into the tree over a suitable branch. Once that's done, you can untie the knot, release the stick, and then tie on the bear bag to the line. Now take the other end and pull the bag up until it's a few feet from the branch over which you cast your line, and then tie the end you're holding to an adjacent tree. Tie it securely.  
Name: RRedtail 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2015-10-27 
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