Many students gazed up in awe and fear as the hang glider pilot leapt from the peak of Sleeping Giant State Park wondering whether his landing would cost him his life.
This thrill-seeker was one of many visiting Sleeping Giant on a Saturday afternoon.
The conveniently located park has served as a place where Quinnipiac students and others have ventured to enjoy the tranquility of the trails, take in the scenery, and escape from the often hectic campus life since 1929.
“Climbing up Sleeping Giant is a good way for college students, especially myself, to get out of the dorm and do something more active,” sophomore health sciences major, Kylie Fulton, said.
Sleeping Giant towers above Hamden with an elevation of 739 feet, which is comparatively high given the peak’s close proximity to Long Island Sound. Views from the top include a 360-degree panorama with breathtaking views of the Quinnipiac campus, the New Haven skyline, and the main smokestack of the power plant in Bridgeport.
The mountain encompasses many trails that vary in difficulty. Experienced climbers can enjoy an adequate challenge, while the leisurely hikers are free to take peaceful walks on the easier trails.
“Sleeping Giant offers an amazing experience for hikers of all skill levels,” sophomore business major, Christopher Hodgdon, said. “Not only is it a great escape from the fast paced lives that we all live, but it just gives everyone a great workout and the reward of seeing New Haven and Long Island Sound. Overall it’s a great and very rewarding journey that I would recommend for everyone.”
According to the Sleeping Giant Park Association, the most difficult routes up the mountain are the blue and white trails.
Some experienced climbers prefer to follow trails that aren’t defined by the park. A “rocky trail” requires hikers to climb with a low center of gravity. The trail leads up to the massive rock cliff at the bottom of the giant’s head that daring rock climbers put their skill and equipment to the ultimate test. Unfortunately, it is here that some attempts result in injury or death.
The elevation of this part of the mountain is approximately 670 feet above sea level, about 70 feet below the base of the four-story stone tower near the left hip of Sleeping Giant.
The location of Sleeping Giant contributes to the popularity among student climbers who enjoy every aspect of this convenience.
“Whenever I’m stressed out I come here,” sophomore entrepreneurship major, Gregory Hoppe, said. “No matter how my classes are going, I can climb the mountain to get my mind off any stress and have an enjoyable time. I also like the fact that it is conveniently across from the campus. I think it’s the perfect student getaway when the academic pressures build up.”