Sleeping Giant State Park

Location: Sleeping Giant State Park

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Location Description

Sleeping Giant State Park gets its name from a mountain within the park which, when viewed from a distance, looks like a sleeping giant. According to the Quinnipiac Tribe's legends, the mountain was formed when Keitan, a good spirit, put Hobbomock, a giant stone spirit, to sleep for diverting the Connecticut River in a fit of rage. Located in Hamden, CT, this park is a popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and fishing. Sleeping Giant boasts a complex and well-developed trail system with 32 miles of trails, including the Blue-Blazed Quinnipiac Trail. There is a range of difficulty from an easy stroll to a challenging hike. There is also a bridle path which accommodates horses in the summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. Efforts to preserve the Sleeping Giant began in 1924 when local residents formed the Sleeping Giant Park Association (SGPA) in order to stop a traprock quarry that was degrading the well-known mountain. The SGPA purchased the area in 1933 and in 1936, the Works Progress Administration built the Sleeping Giant Tower at the top of the mountain. In 1986, the area was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visit: Keitan & Hobbomock's Struggle
I was not among the Media Lab Staff members who went to Sleeping Giant State Park. However, I do recall the stories they shared about the trip. The first person they interviewed was historian, Gil Spencer. He told them the Native American myth that explained the creation of Sleeping Giant Mountain. According to Gil, there was a giant, stone spirit called Hobbomock who got angry (for reasons I can't recall) and stomped his foot. What resulted was the diverting of the Connecticut River's path. In order to prevent Hobbomock from creating further disorder, a good spirit called Keitan put Hobbomock to sleep and he has not awakened since. You can clearly make out the shape of a head, shoulder, and hip along the ridge of the mountain, which is why it is called the Sleeping Giant. After Gil's interview, staffers followed the Department of Environmental Protection's Jill Schiebenpflug up Tower Path. There is four story stone tower located at the end of the path. Jill took the staff to the top of the tower where they shot her interview. From there, staff members were able to see the New Haven cityscape as well as Long Island Sound. Afterward, Jill led the staff on a short drive to different section of the park where they went to a massive stone quarry. The path to the quarry was not an area most people can drive. Unfortunately, one of our staff members parked her car in a small ditch. They were able to get her car out without incident. Staff members then went to Wentworth Old Fashioned Ice Cream for ice cream and for extra b-roll footage of the mountain. Staff members said they enjoyed the trip. -Julia Kwon

Interviewer: Sarah Furie

Videographers: Paul Pfeffer, Sarah Krauss

Photographer: Sam Hockaday

Editor: Julia Kwon

Animator: Sam Hockaday

Crew: Meghan Foehl, Stephanie Merkel, Sara Ponticelli

Manager of Online Content: Paul Pfeffer

Director of Online Services: Derrick Ellis

Web Designer: Lauren Nauheimer

Many thanks to historian Gilbert Spencer and Jill Scheibenpflug, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

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