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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Default Monadnock Sunapee Greenway plan late October. Our first hike west of the Sierra.

    We're 55 and live in California. Our backpacking has been 95% in a pretty narrow band of the Sierra Nevada. I plan to hike the AT in 2-4 years but first do some shorter trips in different environments. Rain, bugs, rocks, and mud sure sound fun but are they? Towns, restaurants, and shelters mid-trip might not be bad either.

    We have an event in Boston the last week of October, so that dictated the timing. It looks like two weeks earlier would be better for fall colors and weather. I looked for a loop or point-to-point trip that offered a bit of the New England/East Coast hiking experience and would let us enjoy the fall colors. Shelters to sleep in (or at least escape the rain when cooking, etc) and accessible by mass transit from Boston were also goals. The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail looks to hit most of those requirements. It will involve approx 55 miles of hiking and has at least 4 good view points so hopefully we will get at least one summit on a clear day.

    I'd love any input or suggestions. I put most of my research below.

    Jim
    WhiteBlaze threads:




    Draft itnerary.


    • 10/20 Fly to BOS
    • 10/21 Dartmouth Coach to New London (Park & Ride) N.H.
    • Taxi 10 miles to Sunapee Lake Lodge (Possibly "New Aces Taxi". No Uber/Lyft in the area)
    • 10/22 Hike from Lodge to Sunapee ski area. 1 mile
    • Hike up Mt. Sunapee appx. 2 miles

    • Hike MSG additional 6 miles to Steve Galpin Shelter
    • 10/23 Hike MSG 11 miles Through town of Washington NH
    • Eat/supply at http://thewashingtonstore.com/
    • to General Washington Shelter
    • If we find a B&B in Washington stay there instead.
    • 10/24 Hike MSG 13.5 miles
    • to Crider Shelter and camping area. Set on the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ James & Eleanor Crider Forest.
    • 10/25 Hike MSG 11 miles to Spiltoir Shelter
    • 10/26 Hike MSG 7 miles to Mt. Monadnock.
    • Follow 2 mile "White Dot" or other trail off mountain to parking lot or Jaffrey another 2-3 miles

    • Taxi 16 miles to Keene NH
    • 10/27 Keene.Pick up Enterprise rental car
    • 10/28 Drive to BOS


    Resources:
    Mostly web searches.
    There's an official book and map by the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club (MSGTC)
    Guthook App has the trail available for $5.



    YouTube:
    "Nahamsha Hiker MSG"
    Thunderstorm on the MSG. Great views... Poor kid didn't like thunderstorm!Others: (You will find "Kyle Hates Hiking" somewhat annoying. He doesn't really hate hiking.()Weather-
    My best guess:
    Average highs in high 40's to low 50's with 65 possible.
    Lows typically about freezing or a bit lower, very dewy.
    Sunny about 1/2 of the days.
    Rain about 1 day out of 4, average 1/2" with 1" fairly common. It rained 4" in 2 days in 2019.
    Snow unlikely but possible.
    Personal weather station at 1600' in town of Washington

  2. #2
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    12-12-2002
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    Default

    Thanks for the research!

    I have never hiked the MSG, but just mailed away for the guidebook and map on Monday.

    That said, I have hiked Monandnock many scores of times.

    FWIW, the *very* popular White Dot and White Arrow trails are a bit uninteresting below tree-line. If you are not racing to get off the mountain, veering off one of those trails at tree-line and making you way to the Cliff Walk (or just about any other option down, there are many) would be worth considering — and let you avoid a conga line of folks coming up. i am exaggerating, but not all that much. Local lore is that Monadnock is the second most climbed mountain in the world.

    My wife and I have stayed at the Monadnock Inn which would is rather close to the base of Monadnock (long walk/short hitch). For $100 or so its good value — decent pub/restaurant. If you head to on to Keene it has everything a vibrant college town would, perhaps even the pumpkin festival in some form or fashion — it was a big deal but then they had a pumpkin riot and things changed.

  3. #3
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
    Location
    Essex, Vermont
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    Default

    If you don't love this trail, you won't love the AT! This has been described as a mini-AT, it has a nice combination of rocky summits, ridges, fields, short road walks, and small towns. I've hiked it twice, both times in 3 nights/4 days, which requires at least one long day. Your itinerary is a bit more relaxed, so I hope you have great weather. The store in Washington is a great spot for lunch or dinner, but less than ideal as a re-supply. I'm planning on hiking the MSGT again in a couple weeks and will try to get some pics so you have a better idea of their offerings, which may have changed.

    The shelters are all clean and decent, even the one in "downtown" Washington. Like the AT, it's a good idea to have your own alternative shelter, just in
    case.

    The weather is reliably unreliable. I'm hiking from Sunapee to Washington & return for a third time because I've never hiked that part in anything other than a deluge. You could have 4 perfect fall days, the tail end of a hurricane, or snow. Most of the leaves will be down, so you'll have some through-the-trees views you wouldn't get at other times.

    Not much else to say - have a ball.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Thanks for the research!
    ...My wife and I have stayed at the Monadnock Inn which would is rather close to the base of Monadnock (long walk/short hitch). For $100 or so its good value — decent pub/restaurant. ...
    Sadly the inn's restaurant is closed and the inn is up for sale, so we decided to book lodging in Keene instead. We're staying for two nights so will have a full day to knock around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    ... I'm hiking from Sunapee to Washington & return for a third time because I've never hiked that part in anything other than a deluge. You could have 4 perfect fall days, the tail end of a hurricane, or snow. Most of the leaves will be down, so you'll have some through-the-trees views you wouldn't get at other times.
    .
    I suspected we might be just a bit late for fall colors.

    I saw a vague reference to a B&B in Washington but nothing concrete. If you find out anything please let me know.

    By "resupply" at the Washington Store I really meant grab dinner and some snacks. On his trip iAmKrzys had both dinner and breakfast at the store.

    Thanks for all the info, and keep it coming. I've been sitting on my butt working from home for 408 days and am finally looking forward to getting out on some trips!

  5. #5

    Default

    The last week of October is real iffy. The weather maybe be nice or it maybe really, really, really bad. Same with the color. One good heavy rain/wind storm in mid October will knock most of the leaves off the trees, which then makes the trial hard to keep track of and really slippery. The Monadnock area is in a snow belt, rotten weather is common in that area. It's just high enough and in just the right spot to catch the spokes of storms rotating off the coast, or get blasted by a front rushing in behind it from the North West, bringing a cold blast of air from Canada.

    Late October storms can be nasty. But if you hit a good weather window, it's hard to beat. Crisp days, cold nights, pretty much perfect hiking weather. Its all about timing and if you can't adjust your timing, it's a roll of the dice. Lots of leaves on the ground makes for a colorful landscape, so all is not lost if the trees start to become bare.

    So, I would say plan the hike, but be ready to do something else if the weather does not look good for some or all of those days.

    I wouldn't call it much of a hard hike or a mini-AT. The Green Mountain Long Trail, that's a mini-AT. All the hard parts, none of the easy parts. A good 3d of the MSG is rural road, either paved or gravel or on snowmobile trails. A couple of steep, but short, climbs here and there. All in all, a pleasant hike.

    We went NOBO and timed it to have an early dinner at the Washington general store, then hiked up to the next shelter. The Washington shelter is basically in someone's backyard. I guess it's okay, but seemed weird.

    One last thing, daylight hours are getting short end of October and it gets dark in the woods real early, especially on overcast days (common). Bring some candles for pleasant light and something to do for a few hours in the evening. Fires are not permitted, so you can't have that activity to pass time in the dark.
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  6. #6
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
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    I forgot about the breakfast at Washington - good stuff! They do have a few trail-worthy groceries, and beer.

    There is an old house for sale in Washington as a "potential B&B"

    This guy has a good account of the trail, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3vUH9zJqtk&t=15s

    Nahamsha is a nice kid, but please don't camp away from the shelters like she did - that's how trails on private lands get closed.

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