Today we were heading out from East Mountain Wildlife Management Area back toward Sunrise Park. So, every day on the trail is interesting. And this was definitely one of those days!
We started off from East Mountain in Massachusetts, which was a little weird. Due to our shuttling system, we keep heading north, yet we hike south. So we still had a little trail in Connecticut to do, but we’d hit it at the end of the day.
Anyway, East Mountain WMA is just northwest of Holyoke, Mass. It features the requisite climbs, followed by killer views. So our morning was quite strenuous, as the trail featured lots of very steep uphills and downhills. In addition, the trail people here just don’t believe in switchbacks. Everything is steep, steeper and steepest.
At one point, the trail dipped down to a spot where someone had left a weight bench, then put a log over the crossbars where the weight normally goes. Stubs checked it out, but couldn’t quite get in position due to the pack on his back.
Hiking Southbound from East Mountain
Around lunchtime, the trail spit us out into a grubby viaduct, where we nevertheless managed to enjoy a nice lunch. Also, it was interesting to see how the trail was signed through this scruffy urban area. Instead of blazes on trees, there was a blaze on a rusted old drum, one on a metal spike, etc.
Shortly after lunch, we had our one and only river crossing on the trail – the Westfield River in Massachusetts. Luckily, it wasn’t very far across, and for the most part the water was only calf-to-knee deep. But in one section, the water was thigh-high and rushing. So I made Stubs come back and link arms to make sure I didn’t fall.
Then, right after the river crossing, we ran into Parks. He was accompanied by Keith Paulk and Karen. While I had never met Keith and Karen in person, they are Floridians and trail fans. And while I had only met Keith on Facebook, he had purchased my hiking book, “Thousand-Miler,” and was kind enough to write a nice review. So it was fun to meet them.
When we were parting, Parks noted the trail ahead of us was easy. Sadly, we had to tell them that the trail ahead of them was NOT easy.
As we trudged on, we saw that Parks was right. Our afternoon was a lovely stroll on relatively flat terrain. Hopefully, our warning to them eased their way, as they knew what to expect. Oh, one fun point: we passed the NET’s Connecticut/Massachusetts border.
One state down, one to go! Tonight is our second, and last, night at the lovely Hampton Inn in West Springfield, Mass.
Snowshoe and Stubs
Map Miles: 19.5
Map Miles to Date: 156.3
iPhone Miles: 19.2
iPhone Miles to Date: 153.9
Steps to Date: 395,364
Flights Walked: 175
Flights to Date: 1,412
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