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Nicholas DiNardo
06-15-2018, 12:59
Hello ya'll! :welcome

I just finished my SOBO thruhike of the New England Trail two days ago.

Monday June 4th 2pm --> Wednesday June 13th 5pm

I started at the Mount Monadnock visitors center in southern NH. I took the White Dot Trail up the mountain, the White Arrow Trail down the mountain, the Metacomet-Monadnock to the NH/MA, and then hiked SOBO down the New England Trail to Guilford Point, Connecticut. I did the whole thing unsupported, other than having a family-friend give me a ride around the Connecticut River in North Hampton MA, since there is no bridge. I did not do the 26 mile Eastern Spur section in Connecticut because I would have had to have back-tracked and done it twice. I completed the trail, which for me was roughly 230 miles, in 219 hours (9 Days, 3 Hours), doing roughly 25 mile days.

The New England Trail has a lot of stuff packed into it, both good and bad. Overall I would say the Massachusetts portion is better than the Connecticut portion. It is more "woodsy," is in better condition, and has significantly better blazing. Actually, the blazes were top notch in Massachusetts and I ran into an older couple repainting them with stencils and I thanked them for their hard work. Lots of Connecticut sections I got the impression that people in the area were not fond of the trail. There were sections where the trail was running through peoples backyards, across driveways, a whole bunch of roadwalks, and twice while I was walking through a neighborhood I had someone approach me and say "You know backpacking isn't allowed on this trail? Right?" Which really bothered me because I'd hope people would support and care about a National Scenic Trail. I tried to camp each night up on top of ridges and mountains to stay away from peoples properties, which was easy to accomplish.

Where I camped, in order:
- Alongside a Beaver Pond on Tully Brook, NH
- Richard-Zlogar Cabin, Stratton Mountain, MA
- N. Macedonia Road, on top of hill in the Quabbin Reservoir section, MA
- On top of Bare Mountain, MA
- CT/MA Border
- Heublein Tower, Talcott Mountain, CT
- On top of Ragged Mountain, CT
- Giuffrida Park, Chauncey Peak, CT
- On top of Bluff Head, CT

However, even though I kinda just complained in the paragraph above, I am in no way saying that the New England Trail isn't worth doing. It is absolutely worth doing and I would recommend that anyone with an ambition to backpack should do it. It is the shortest of the 11 National Scenic Trails, which makes it a great starter trail for long distance backpacking. It has lots of great views and rewarding sections without many brutal climbs or descends. Honestly its the perfect parent/child trail. I could easily see a Dad and their boy-scout doing it over the summer and it would an amazing bonding experience that wouldn't break the bank or any legs. I thruhiked the Appalachian Trail NOBO last year so the New England Trail was a significantly easier trail for me physically. What made the New England Trail harder, however, was that it lacks the camaraderie that the AT had. During my SOBO NET hike I ran into only day hikers and 4 other section thru-hikers going NOBO. So basically the whole time I felt pretty isolated. Part of the reason that I blasted through it in 9 days was that even though I was having fun, It was pretty lonely. To combat this I just listened to podcasts all day long. So mannnyyyy Podcast, which was great and I learned a lot, but is just not as exciting as having friends to talk to. If you are thinking about doing the New England Trail I would 100% recommend finding a companion to do it with because the likelihood of meeting up with someone else on trail is slim-to-none.

Things I was fond of:
- MA/NH Border, gorge-like brook w/ a natural landbridge
- Richardson-Zlogar Cabin, MA, great overnight spot w/ tent plateforms
- Farm Store on the Gulf Roadwalk, MA
- Wendell State Forest and Riggles Pond, MA
- Mt. Lincoln, MA, good views from tower
- Mt. Tom, MA, awesome views and lots of communication towers and old equiptment
- Tariffville CT, trail runs straight through town, liquor store and restaurants
- Heublein Tower, CT, very beautiful building, water fountains, and restrooms
- Rattlesnake Mt., CT, crowded, lots of rock climbing groups, but awesome views and cliffs
- Hot Dog/Hamburger Joint literally on trail, CT
- Besech Mt. Range, CT, awesome ridgewalk
- The last 10 miles of the trail are a cakewalk

Things I wasn't fond of:
- Crowded Mt. Monadnock, NH (expected and not unusual)
- Northern MA had a LOT of Mosquitos, hike fast or bring strong repellant
- Lake Wyola, MA, slightly confusing, old (incorrect) blazes down what appeared to be logging trails
- Holyoke Range, MA, PUDS (pointless ups and downs) w/ no views :cool:
- Westfield River, MA, unexpected fording, be careful, water was up above my waist and I'm 6'3"
- Amherst area, MA, It felt kinda unsafe but maybe that is because I was night hiking
- Metropolitan District Reservoir, CT, the trail is also a Mountain Biking course and its dangerous
- Metacomet Road, CT, the trail literally weaves through mansions and I felt very unwelcome
- CT Route 72 was a grimy Roadwalk, but there are gas stations, restaurants, and liquor stores

I used a couple different tools for navigation. First and foremost I utilized the available maps on Maprika. Maprika is an app for your SmartPhone that you can download and use offline without draining your battery whatsoever. It interacts with your GPS software and is able to show you exactly where you are on trail. The entire New England Trail is available to download from Mt. Monadnock, NH to Guilford Point, CT. The only portion not available is 25 miles from the Connecticut River in North Hampton, MA, to the MA/CT border. Still, you can find maps of the Mt. Tom range and also the Northern CT map includes the final 5 miles of MA so in reality there was only about 15 miles of trail I was unable to access on Maprika. This is am amazing tool you should not pass up. Below are the links to the New England Trail Maps

Mt. Monadnock to NH/MA Border
http://www.maprika.com/maplink.php?id=11992

Northern MA
http://www.maprika.com/maplink.php?id=10827

Mount Tom
http://www.maprika.com/maplink.php?id=2146

Northern CT
http://www.maprika.com/maplink.php?id=8586

Southern CT
http://www.maprika.com/maplink.php?id=8584

The other navigational tool I used was Whiteblaze member "nwagers" PDF guide to thew entire New England Trail. This is a phenomenally crafted guide to the trail that no New England Trail thruhiker should go without. The amount of work that "nwagers" must have put into this guide is insane. I printed it out the entire thing, whole punched it, bound it, and carried it in a waterproof bag the whole way. I can't emphasize how helpful it is.

"nwagers" PDF Guide
http://www.parkshikes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/New-England-Trail-v0.2.pdf

The combination of the Paper Guide book and the Maprika GPS maps made doing the New England Trail an easy and smooth process.

Again, I would recommend the New England Trail to anyone and I hope in the future more people backpack this short but beautiful trail that captures the spirit of New England.

Happy Hiking!

SNOWBIRD :D


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Nicholas DiNardo
06-15-2018, 13:18
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Follow me on Instagram @snowbird_drummer

1azarus
06-16-2018, 18:50
I am happy to hear you used maprika... I post lots of maps there for my own use, but am delighted when used by others. Lots of trail maps available there now.

Slo-go'en
06-16-2018, 21:24
This would be a great fall hike. I think I'd do NH and MA and skip CT. I did the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway a few years ago and it was a nice walk. But we did it in the early summer and I really want to go back and do it in the fall. Adding in Mass would make it interesting. Hey Rafe, do this instead of the Grafton Notch loop again this fall?

BTW, I once passed an insanely long single file line of people coming down off of Monadnock one Saturday afternoon in the fall. It literally stretched 2 miles from the parking lot to the summit, with no more then 5 feet between them the whole way. Didn't see the 50 busses in the other parking lot when we started... Used to climb that hill a lot when I lived 90 minutes away.

Mouser999
06-19-2018, 10:04
Hope you enjoyed the bog bridge on section 1 in Mass. That was installed by AMC Staff and volunteers from the PVHC who have adopted sections 1 anc 2 in mass.

Dogwood
06-27-2018, 22:39
Thx Nick.....

u.w.
06-27-2018, 23:29
Thanks for posting it all up, and Congrats! Very cool.

u.w.

Just Tom
06-28-2018, 16:50
Very cool write-up, thanks!

MASS.PILOT
08-22-2018, 11:17
Excellent write up, thanks. I am trying to put together my hike now.

DILL
09-02-2018, 10:08
Snowbird,

Thank you for sharing info about your thru hike. I am actually going to NOBO thru hike starting this Saturday. I have read your post several times, and have down loaded the Maprika maps and trail guide created by nwagers. I am really excited. I don't think that I will be able to crank our 25 mile days, but allowed myself 16 days for the trip. I hope that will be enough.


I would appreciate and welcome any other input any one has on completing a thru hike. This will be my first long distance trip.


Thank you all again for sharing.

JohnnyOutdoors
09-07-2018, 11:43
Hello Everyone,

A couple weeks ago I finished a NOBO thru-hike of the New England Trail. I started at the Eastern Terminus in Middletown and hiked SOBO to Bluff Head then shuttled down to Guilford and hiked NOBO to the northern terminus. It took me about 19 days to complete. I did get off trail during those stretches of intense rain and lightning and used motels a bit. I didn't stealth camp. Thanks Snowbird for posting your hike and providing info on the PDF guide and the Maprika app. Both great tools to use on the NET! I also filmed my thru-hike (to the best of my ability) and posted it on YouTube for everyone. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1sHGYY9K0tZdGvI-0bB5vw
I hope anyone thru-hiking the NET finds this information useful and wish them the best of luck! -JohnnyOutdoors

1azarus
09-09-2018, 06:45
Thanks for posting, JohnnyOutdoors, and welcome to white blaze. It is rare to run into another long distance hiker on the NET, so I especially enjoyed meeting you and having a chance to chat!