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  1. #1
    Registered User The Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Underrated hiking...

    After living out West for about 6 years, I recently moved home (Connecticut) as I prepare to shift gears into a new career. I miss being able to disappear into the slot canyons of Southern Utah or summit some random peak in the Uintas or Wasatch Range, but I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the New England Trail.

    I live within a few minutes of the Southern terminus in Guilford and have spent a good chunk of time walking on this trail. It's pretty damn good hiking. It reminds me of the AT (primarily the PA/NJ/NY/CT/MA portions). The trail is well maintained, but incredibly quiet. I've been spending my weekends trying to regain my trail legs and have been really impressed.

    I would love to do a thru-hike at some point, but haven't found a window of time.

    Outside of the Highline Trail in Utah, I'd say the New England Trail is one of the better trails in the country that gets very little publicity. Maybe that's a good thing?

    If you want to do a test run for an AT thru-hike, the NET may be a nice little trek. The sections I have done are nowhere near as rugged as the Long Trail, but the scenery is really nice. I'm surprised by the quietness of the trail, for being in some of the more densely populated wooded areas in the country.

    Worth checkin out, IMO.
    "you know a dream like this seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unattainable. And for anybody who's on the downside of advantage and relying purely on courage: It's possible."

  2. #2
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    Maybe next year. This year I did the Wapac and the Monadnock-Sunapee trails. Both excellent!

    Also want to do a long bike ride, eg. the Great Allegheny Passage. (Pittsburgh to Washington DC.)

  3. #3
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    I've hiked the NET from the CT-MA border to Monadnock, and I can say without reservation that the NET across Massachusetts is better than the AT across Massachusetts in every respect. Better views, easier grades, fewer people, better trail towns, and (if you hike south to north), a better sense of building to something, as the trail becomes more scenic and remote the closer you get to the big, climactic summit at the end. The NET has a campsite (ledges just north of the Miller's River with a 180-degree view) that is nicer than any camping spot I've seen on the AT so far.

    They've done some rerouting north of Amherst. I don't know if the reroute is any good (it seems to follow a highway pretty closely), but there is a nice alternate route on the Robert Frost trail (maps available if you google it) that goes over Mt. Toby, a nice summit with a fire tower. Anyone interested can PM me for details.

  4. #4
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    Was just looking at overnight options on the NET just yesterday...it didn't look like a lot.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, I think they just opened one in East Granby but other than the Wildcat one right on top of Rt. 68 in Durham, and the Madison one that's actually way off the "main" NET, I don't know of any others, either. This is not to take away from this wonderful trail but just to say, it doesn't really seem set up for ld backpacking as of yet.

    Jane

  6. #6
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    I've stealth camped every night I've been on the NET. In MA, at least, the trail is on public land for a big chunk of the mileage. And since I don't carry maps of land ownership when I hike there, I assume that if I don't see a sign saying public land, I can camp. I can only recall a handful of places (a few spots in the Holyoke Range come to mind) that were signed no camping.

    A good number of folks have thru-hiked the NET now. It's definitely possible to do backpacking there.

  7. #7
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Oops, meant if I don't see a sign saying "private property."

  8. #8
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    This was the question I had as well. Were you able to successfully hike the whole thing thru? And where did you stay? Any dangerous sections?

  9. #9
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Anyone help?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by steffen.johnson View Post
    This was the question I had as well. Were you able to successfully hike the whole thing thru? And where did you stay? Any dangerous sections?
    A lot of the adjacent land is private but not posted; some is posted (properly) and that should be honored. As should posted watershed areas. As far as the public land, obviously liability and public policy come into play. To have an official policy encouraging overnight sleeping is fraught with issues for the state and cities. So it is almost universally not allowed along the trail. Sometimes that means simply that there is no mechanism to provide "permission" thus it is not "allowed" in that sense, but ... Sometimes it means it is proactively prohibited.

    The big problem for overnight backpacking this past Fall season was water. Virtually all of the streams noted on various maps and descriptions were dry. I had researched lots of maps to find all the ponds and lakes near the trail. Many of them turned out to be bogs and it took a lot of time but I was able to get at water enough pretty much the whole Mattabesett and southern Metacomet.

    AS far as dangerous sections it's all relative.There are the typical Connecticut traprock cliffs with a few somewhat hysterical signs here and there. There are adjacent firing ranges and shooting clubs, etc. that make you want to pick up your pace to move on.

  11. #11
    Digger takethisbread's Avatar
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    I thruhiked this trail. Nice trail. I camped wherever the whole way. Stealth camping wasn't a problem. Pretty desolate as far as other hikers in the north but there was a ton of people in Holyoke area! It was not a problem and much like burger I didn't notice many signs for no camping. I stop in the dark so I don't notice much.


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  12. #12
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    Good post. This sounds awesome, thanks.

  13. #13
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    I live just a couple of miles from the trail, and have hiked much of it in CT, but in a week or so will start to do a few largish section hikes to be able to call it complete. I've done the Sunapee Monadnock trail at the northern end already, and really enjoyed that.

    I wish there were a list of restaurants near the trail... maybe stores, as well.
    Lazarus

  14. #14
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1azarus View Post
    I live just a couple of miles from the trail, and have hiked much of it in CT, but in a week or so will start to do a few largish section hikes to be able to call it complete. I've done the Sunapee Monadnock trail at the northern end already, and really enjoyed that.

    I wish there were a list of restaurants near the trail... maybe stores, as well.
    The Sunapee Monadnock trail isn't actually part of the NET. It ends at the top of Monadnock (maybe someday they'll extend the NET along the S-M trail and to the Whites--it would be pretty cool to be able to hike from Long Island Sound to the AT).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    The Sunapee Monadnock trail isn't actually part of the NET. It ends at the top of Monadnock (maybe someday they'll extend the NET along the S-M trail and to the Whites--it would be pretty cool to be able to hike from Long Island Sound to the AT).
    well, it is a part as far as I'm concerned!!! there is a connecting section of trail from the MA NH border to monadnock already, joining at the southern terminus of the S-M trail. I do wonder why they didn't include the S-M in the formal NET. too bad.
    Lazarus

  16. #16
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    Whoops, didn't see this was the NET-specific forum. Removing off topic post.
    Last edited by Another Kevin; 03-04-2016 at 15:38. Reason: offtopic
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  17. #17
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    I hiked section 17 yesterday over grace mountain in Northfield, there is a shelter near the base of grace mountain before you get to rt 78.
    They just fixed it up and put a new roof on it, next time ill definitely camp there.

  18. #18

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    Check out the Pioneer Valley Hiking Club. We hike most of the NET and New England.

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