White-blazed trail in woods with some flooding near Alexander Hill Road on the New England TrailToday’s hike was from Alexander Hill Road to Quabbin Reservoir. And this hike, plus tomorrow’s hike, were supposed to be shorter and easier. So today’s hike was slated at about 17 or 18 miles. I didn’t have the exact mileage because the starting and ending points were within marked segments – not at the start/end of segments – so I had to estimate.

Anyway, it was another warm day with highs in the mid-80s and a fair amount of humidity. And unfortunately the gnats were still out.

Leaving Alexander Hill Road

So as we headed out from Alexander Hill, the first section we hiked was along the Upper Bald /Stratton Mountain in the Northfield State Forest. En route, we enjoyed a nice vista by a campsite and the Richardson-Zlogar cabin, which also featured a giant cairn and two Stonehenge-like arrangements.

After a road walk, we passed through Hermit and Rattlesnake Mountains, then reached the Wendell State Forest. This is when things started to deteriorate. The trail was underwater at one point, so we had to do some bushwhacking around it, then just walk through some wet parts. It wasn’t bad, but we lost some time strategizing about how to handle it. Next, this section was longer than the map indicated.

Crazy Blazes Confuse Us

The worst part came when we were finally exiting the state park area. The trail was supposed to lead us through a town park and onto the road for a road-walk to our car. But the blazes suddenly were sending us in circles. Eventually, we realized the park had its own set of white blazes – possibly for a cross-country course – that had nothing to do with the white blazes of the NET in Massachusetts. Note to NET staff/volunteers: Ask the Lake Wyota folks to pick a different color for their blazes!

The day ended at nearly 24 miles instead of 17-18. We went back to our motel room at the Hampton Inn Hadley-Amherst exhausted once again.

Snowshoe and Stubs

Map Miles: About 20.7
Map Miles to Date: About 215.6
iPhone Miles: 23.8
iPhone Miles to Date: 219
Steps: 55,641
Steps to Date: 553,679
Flights Walked: 97
Flights to Date: 1,934

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©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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