Erin Mahoney

hike100 participant

Date completed: 11/23/2021

Home base: East Hampton, CT

Miles: I solo hiked 157 miles during 18 adventures exploring the Metacomet and Menunkatuck Blue Blaze trails, beginning in April and concluding in November.

Describe the NET: That the Connecticut portion is a trio of the Blue Blaze trail, spanning from Massachusetts along the ridgeline south to Long Island Sound and introducing a variety of ecosystems along the way.

Advice for NET Hikers: Have a backup plan for parking in case your first choice isn’t available.

Trail Story: 

This experience has elevated my abilities as a hiker, boosted my confidence about being on trails solo, and truly enhanced my 2021.

Caitlin Quinn

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 11/22/2021

Home base: Merrimack, NH

Miles: In the winter and spring of 2021 I hiked all of the Massachusetts sections of the New England Trail except the final 19.2 northern miles. I also hiked as far south as Tariffville, CT. I covered a lot of these miles in long 10-15 mile point-to-point day hikes as well as a couple of overnights covering closer to 20-25 miles per day. while I live in NH my folks live in South Hadley, MA and I hiked the seven sisters (rt. 116 notch to CT river) as well as the mount tom section (CT river to rt 141 Easthampton road) multiple times.

Describe the NET: a very quiet and remote trail exploring old New England landscapes. beautiful mountain vistas as well as old pine forests.

What do you love about the NET? The peace and quiet.

Advice for NET Hikers: Start small. don’t expect large mountain views in each section you explore. take the time to enjoy the hardwood forest and old landscapes.

Trail Story: 

I am an avid hiker and backpacker having completed the Appalachian trail as a southbound thru-hike in 2019. it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned the New England trail goes right through the backyard of where I grew up in western Massachusetts. it was very special to me to spend so much time in the woods in an area I knew so well from my childhood but only knew by pavement and cars.

Rami Haddad

Hike50 participant

Date completed: 11/13/2021

Home base: Lexington, MA

Miles: Ran the entire Mattabesett-Menunkatuck from Middletown to Guilford = 44mi = 44 points + 10 points volunteer time for AMC.

Trail Story: 

We had a beautiful start to the day with clear sky & cool temperature. Signs were visible & trail easy to follow. The trail was easier in the second half with much less elevation gain than the first half. Then a thunderstorm came in the afternoon. Bright lightning was flashing in many directions. Loud thunder boomed in the distance. We kept running at low elevation between tall trees. Just as we finished wearing our rain jackets, gloves, & headlights, rain started. Heavy & cold. We ran to stay warm. An hour later, clear sky returned, the moon lit our path, & we were at the final stretch for the day.

Full story at

Marci Kornegay

Hike100 Participant

Date completed: 11/16/2021

Home base: Franklin Park, NJ

Miles: I hiked the entire trail southbound from Nov. 1- Nov. 11.

Describe the NET: If you were to pull trail together through a cross-stitch of New England Americana, this is the trail system you would get. Gentle rolling junior mountains are enough to provide gorgeous views for as wide as you can see, but not elevated enough to make the thought of climbing the next one unbearable.

Advice for NET Hikers: Take water into the Holyoke range. Stop for the hotdog (#1) at Guido’s. Plan ahead so you don’t get stranded road walking deep into the night. Stop for ice cream. Road walk into the towns and see America.

Trail Story: 

I had only read that the NET was a hidden gem, but sometimes you have to see for yourself. I tend to find long hikes more meaningful to me. It takes more than a few days to get over the logistics, the equipment, the thrill of being on trail for 10-15 hours a day, to transform and transition into one purpose, to experience 100% joy through hiking, surviving, smiling, and repeating.
For the entire trip, I felt safe on trail, through towns, road crossings, during the day and night and being surrounded by total isolation. Hiking season had ended and I think I counted 5 on-trail conversations- of those, a maintenance worker trying to find a fallen tree, a local who offered me a shower and a bed, and a couple who hiked 100 miles last year who offered me a ride anywhere. I declined, I was chasing daylight, a cold snap, and a storm front arriving on Friday. Not finishing was never an option. I spent 10 of the 11 nights hiking into the night. I stayed in 2 hotels (Hadley, MA & Plainville, CT) and never took a zero day. My calves continue to pay for that!
The continuous ledge and ridge walks, especially through CT were my favorite parts, the river walk-arounds and overflowing vernal pools never excited me, nor did the lack of water through the Holyokes. I will say that Guido’s does have a delicious hot dog and the 90/Mass Turnpike is creepy at dusk! This is a special trail system and I believe a tremendous opportunity for exposure and visibility to the right to farm communities.

Craig Bowen

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 11/14/2021

Home base: Pascoag, RI

Miles: I hiked CT sections 14, 15, 17, and 18 all as out and backs except section 14 which I made a loop. Also, I hiked MA sections 1 through 8 as out and back hikes on each section. So, the total came out around 120 miles excluding my off-trail wanderings.

Describe the NET: When I was young, more than 40 years ago, I considered the only real hiking was to travel to the White Mountains. I never knew such great trails existed so close by (we had no internet then). I missed years of great hiking that was so close and offers challenges for all different levels of hiking. I would say to anyone just get out and see for yourself.

What do you love about the NET?  One thing I think is interesting is that if you start from the most southern point and work your way north, the challenges will increase and will mirror improvements in your own hiking ability, confidence, and physical condition.

Trail Story: 

I have always loved the Connecticut section of the NET along the Metacomet Ridge. How could I not love Castle Craig! Ragged Mountain Preserve has been my all-time favorite area with beautiful views from the cliff sections. But, recently I added sections in Massachusetts and the Mt Tom area is now a close second as my favorite area. The area of the 7 sisters is also beautiful but doing those sections twice was a very tough hike and it did surprise me that I completed that hike!

Lisa & Gerry Harvey

Hike100 participants

Date completed: 11/14/2021

Home base: Amherst, MA

Miles: We hiked 100 miles on sections 2 through 18.

Describe the NET: It’s an absolute treasure, and each hike is so unique. We saw a number of people on the more popular sections, but on some sections saw no humans–but the less popular hikes were some of my favorites–I encourage people to try them all!

Trail Story: 

My mother (age 79!) and I hiked sections 2 to 18 broken up into 18 hikes from April 17th to November, 11, 2021, logging 100.6 miles in total (including a few accidental and a few purposeful detours). I have lived in the Pioneer Valley for almost 30 years, but had only hiked two of these sections before this year. Each hike was stunning, with sights including majestic views, colorful mushrooms, amazing rock formations, old structures, lovely handmade signs, painted rocks, trees of every shape and size, flowers, & foliage. We encountered 1 large bear on the trail who trotted away when my mother asked it to move along, and saw a mother bear and her 3 cubs climb down a tree and scurry away. We heard the sound of a large birch tree falling, relieved to see if fall on the side of the trail and not on top of us. We hiked in temperatures from the low 30s to the high 80s, but managed to only get rained on once. We took off our shoes to cross creeks that had no bridges in the summer—the cool water felt fabulous—and were grateful that bridges and well-placed stones kept our feet dry on our cool weather hikes. We only lost our way a handful of times thanks to the well-marked trails—the times we missed turns were because we were distracted by the scenery or our conversation, and never because the trail was not well marked. Thank you to all of the people who take such good care of this wonderful trail!

Craig Hiltz

Hike50 participant

Date completed: 11/10/2021

Home base: Bridgewater, MA

Miles: Hiked CT Sections 5-7, part of 9, 10-13 and part of 14. Started at LI Sound hiking north and stopped at Rt 71 near Cathole Mountain. ~57 miles without backtracks.

Describe the NET: Well maintained, easy to follow. It’s so accessible but parts of the trail feel truly remote. 

Advice for NET Hikers: Use the website. All the information you’ll need is there.

Susan & Stephen Bukowsky

Hike100 participants

Date completed: 10/28/2021

Home base: Clinton, CT

Miles: We have hiked Guilford Section 2 numerous times but are trying to complete the whole New England Trail. We have completed from Ct Section 1 to MA Section 14. Doing it in Sections. Just completed MA 12,13 &14 on Thursday. 

What do you love about the NET?  The diversity of the trail keeps it interesting and there are always new discoveries to be made on every hike.

Advice for NET Hikers: If you are new to hiking, start slowly and within 2 weeks, you’ll be ready for the more challenging hikes. Remember there is an end to all hills!

Trail Story: 

I am enjoying this exciting experience with my son who started me on this adventure. As a hiking retiree, I am now in better physical condition than all of my friends. Hiking the New England Trail has challenged me to push beyond what I thought I could do. We just finished a 3 section 15 mile hike which is my personal best. The views from Holyoke Range are spectacular but I also enjoy the peacefulness of the forest hikes.

Alicia & Luke McKernan

Hike100 Participants

Date completed: 10/16/2021

Home base: Cromwell, CT

Miles: CT Sections 4, 5, 6, 19-21
MA Sections 1-8
And various favorites in between with friends and family. Ragged Mountain, Chauncey Peak, and Lamentation, Penwood are constantly on repeat for quick weekend hikes. 

Describe the NET: What’s great about the NET is there are trails for all types of hikers with varying degrees of difficulty, in distances that can easily be tailored for your time. 

Trail Story: 

I wasn’t too focused on completing a distance goal this year so much as I was focused on completing more sections north to the New Hampshire border. I started 2021 with sights set on the Massachusetts border, and when I hit that goal quickly I needed to keep up that momentum. Turned south to Guilford and worked on Sections 4-6, which was another quick check off the list. The Massachusetts sections have been incredible. The Mt. Tom range was brutal, but it didn’t prepare me for the Holyoke range, which we had decided to do in one straight shot (sec 7/8). I underestimated that stretch. Completing section 8, totaling my mileage and adding it to the various other sections that I frequent between longer trips, I reluctantly gazed at the 97 on my calculator. I decided the best way to meet the challenge of 100 miles was at my favorite spot, Ragged Mountain, on a humid October morning to watch the sunrise. That photo is attached to this submission. I can’t wait to complete the remaining sections in MA, and continue north to the summit of Mt. Monadnock. Thank you so much for taking such great care of these spaces, and encouraging so many to love and enjoy nature.