12 8 / 2012
For being the second largest parcel of land that comprises a State Forest, there’s actually very little to say about Cockaponset, other than it was named after a local Indian Chief. There’s a ton of trails, but from the perusing of the interwebs, none of them are outstanding, even by CT standards. A lot of the early development work of the Forest was done by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, see Black Rock rant for more info), which is obviously great, and some of the dams, bridges and steps they built can still be found on the trails that form the northern end of the Blue Blazed Cockaponset Trail. One of the southern parcels of land that makes up the forest contains a National Natural Landmark, an Atlantic Cedar swamp, but there’s no trails there and I hear it’s a rather unpleasant place to be in summer, especially after the days of rain we just experienced. So after finally buying the CT Walk Book East and realising that it had very little of interest to say about Cockaponset aswell, we went right for the main attraction - the paid car park by the Pattaconk Reservoir.
Pattaconk means “Round hill,” which is an interesting name for a reservoir. Turns out nearly everything round here is called Pattaconk, as we set off down the Pattaconk trail and later drove over the Pattaconk Brook. We’re still not sure where the original round hill lies, with the notoriously lacking topo information of State Park maps. It was a really humid day, mid massive rainstorm, and we weren’t feeling too energetic. We tripped round the reservoir, saw a huge amount of inch long tiny brown frogs, but not much else of interest.
The rocks are of medium size, and the main variation in the plant life from standard CT forest comes in the form of some thickish mountain laurel on the east side.
There is however, tons to do here. There’s multi use trails for cycling and riding, plenty of hiking, and a nice warm and safe lake for swimming and fishing. So a great place for a family day out, but nothing that really sticks in the memory.