New England Trail – Days 1-2

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April 25-26, 2015

With the Applachian Trail under our belts (as well as a number of other trails), it was time to cast about for a new adventure.
Wayne and I had been eyeing the Matacomet-Monadnock Trail (through Massachusetts since 1991. When we completed it, it would be our third hike that extended the length of Massachsetts (we completed the MIdstate Trail in the early 2000s and the MA section of the AT in 1990.)

We also knew that the trail extended south to the Hanging Hills of Meriden, CT. (We would undoubtedly do that section some day, too.)

When I started researching the trail in anticipation of a spring trip, I discovered that something had happened in the intervening years since Wayne bought me the Matacomet-Monadnock guidebook in 1991. The trail had been extended all the way to the Connecticut coast and was now known as the New England Trail – a trail given National Scenic Trail status that traveled 215 miles to Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire.

That’s all it took for a new plan to emerge. We decided to make an April departure from the CT shore and hike north as far as we could get in a week.

 On April 25, 2015, we set our boots in the Atlantic Ocean, then turned north toward Monadnock (and eventually Canada, but that’s another story) and started the New England Trail with a 4 mile road walk as a warm up.

  Once we got away from the shore, the trail entered a series of town and state forests filled with oaks and granite boulders strewn about the landscape thanks to retreating glaciers.

In places, there were also signs of old farms and testaments to craftsmanship by way of stone walls and bridges.

 It was a real treat to walk through this landscape after the intense winter we had in the northeast this year and to amble in the short window we had before the black flies would invade.

The geese, ducks and woodpeckers shared our glee. We heard the heralding honks of arriving geese and the chits of woodpeckers all day long.

As is our tradition, we celebrated our first full day on the trail by eating the heaviest meal in our packs. Wayne won. The beef stroganoff ruled the roost.

With lighter packs, we look forward to day two. We don’t know what it will bring, but it is increasingly looking like rain can be ruled out, which is a relief. (Wet gear = heavier packs).

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