Katie Graham

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/75/2021

Home base: Boston, MA

Miles: I hiked have been section hiking the NET across MA the last two years. I don’t usually have a car spot, so I frequently have to do there and back hikes for most sections and break up longer sections into pieces. In total it took almost 200 miles of walking to finish hiking across MA. I did about half of those miles in 2020 and 101.4 miles in 2021–these varied across sections as I did not hike in contiguous order. But sections I completed this year included parts of section 6, section 7, sections 9-11, half of section 15 (backpacking overnight), most of section 16, and all of sections 17-19.

What do you love about the NET? The NET has helped me get out and explore new places in MA I never would have thought to hike. I have found so many beautiful areas that I have fallen in love with and would hike again and again. 

Advice for NET Hikers: Just start! Some sections are more exciting than others, but there is variety in length, intensity, and terrain across the various sections, so find one that looks interesting and try it out!

Trail Story: 

I started hiking the NET in 2020 with goal of section hiking my way across Massachusetts (someday I hope to complete CT too). I usually don’t have a car spot, so I have to do there and back hikes which adds up my mileage! This year, I finally finished my hike across MA, saving sections 18 and 19 for last so I could finish at the NH/MA border. It felt so good to take my picture under the MA state line sign, and the snowy backdrop around Royalston Falls (I just completed this at the end of Nov) was picturesque. I capped off my completion of the MA NET with a side trip down to Royalston Falls which I have wanted to see for a long time.

One of my other highlights from the trail this year, was doing a there and back backpacking trip on the northern half of section 15. I hiked southbound on section 15 and stayed the night at the Wendell shelter. It was April and patchy snow was on the ground after a recent storm had come through, and while it was cold I was so excited to be out for my first backpacking overnight of the year. The trip was even more amazing than I expected, with so many beautiful waterfalls and streams along the way. I would backpack that section over and over again.

Steve Sussman

hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/15/2021

Home base: Feeding Hills, MA

Miles: I used a spreadsheet to record over 100 miles of hikes on the trail, covering Mass sections 1-8. Obviously, I repeated some of the sections often. Here is a summary:

Date Section Mileage
26-Feb 2 (one way) 3.8
9-Mar 2 (one way) 3.8
30-Mar 1 (partial) & 2 6.1
17-Apr 7 (partial) 5.4
24-Apr 2 (out & back) 7.6
27-Apr 6 (partial) 5
2-May 3 and 4 (one way) 7.5
6-May 6 (partial) 5.1
11-May 1 (partial) 2
16-May 5 (one way) 4.5
19-May 8 (partial) 4.26
3-Jun 7 (partial) 6.96
11-Jun 6 (one way) 6.8
31-Jul 1 and 2 (one way) 6
10-Oct 7 (partial) 2.8
17-Oct 7 (partial) 5.4
8-Nov 6 (partial) 4.66
30-Nov 2 (partial 2 way) 4
4-Dec 2 (partial 2 way) 6
14-Dec 2 (partial 2 way) 6

TOTAL 103.68

Describe the NET: It is a highly varied trail that can be enjoyed by folks of all abilities. For instance, MA Section 1 is a gentle trail with inclines that are very doable, and it even has a fun handicapped access to a bridge over wetlands starting at the southern terminus. Contrast that with Sections 6 and 7, with lots of ups and downs, scrambling, and outstanding views to the west.

It is a Western New England gem.

What do you love about the NET? So close, but still woods, wildlife, and wonders.

Advice for NET Hikers: Go to the interactive map and click sections, so that you can select pages with info about each section (difficulty, parking, etc)

Trail Story: 

It is so wonderful to have this exciting, varied trail in our own backyard. I have hiked with friends and alone over the years, and it was fun to record the hikes. Even though I had to take a couple of breaks because of family health issues, I was surprised how the miles added up. This year, we hiked sections 3, 4, and 5 for the first time, and it was exciting to see new territory.

Thanks to all who maintain the trail sections, and to the folks who develop programs like the Hike 100 Challenge.

Lindsay Wright & Jennifer Oakland

hike100 participants

Date completed: 12/1/2021

Home base: Belchertown, MA

Miles: We hiked all of the MA sections between January 1 and June 1 of 2021.

Describe the NET: A great introduction to hiking with lots of cool history and things to see along the way. 

What do you love about the NET? Local!!! So easy to get to!

Trail Story: 

My partner Jenn had never hiked in her life and I hiked constantly so I decided I wanted to do this trail in 2021 and she reluctantly agreed to start on Jan 1- the day I suggested the idea- and we had a blast. She even hiked 14 miles one day when we finished the MA section.

Karen Daneu & Sherri Wehr

Hike100 participants

Date completed: 12/13/2021

Home base: West Hatfield, MA

Miles: We started the MA NET in Sep and completed all the sections in Massachusetts today! 108.2 miles

Describe the NET: Great hike to see western Massachusetts

What do you love about the NET? We are grateful to the volunteers who maintain the trails, to the landowners who allow the trail through their property, and the NET for the organization behind this tremendous resource in our community.

Advice for NET Hikers: It’s a great challenge 

Trail Story: 

We loved the variety of the hikes and seeing different communities enroute to the trailheads. We were surprised that we saw less than 25 people on all the sections, except 8, 7 and 6 where we saw over 200 people and 18 dogs!
We were happy to hike in the fall to see the beautiful foliage and have fewer bugs!
It was a delightful experience and we’ll start on the CT NET section in 2022.

John Golemba

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/12/2021

Home base: Enfield, CT

Miles:

-1/23/2021: 2.7 miles on the Mattabesett section from Bluff Head to the West Jct with the Lone Pine Trail
-4/27/2021: 6.2 miles from CT 168 to the floating boardwalk and back
-5/1/2021: 7 miles from CT 20 to Suffield Mt and back
-7/10/2021: 7.7 miles from Footit Rd to Jct with Guiffridaa Park Red Trail; then from Jct with Yellow trail back to Footit Rd via Lamentation Mt and Chauncey Peak
-8/8/2021: 3.7 miles from Giuffrida Park to Jct with Red Trail; then from Jct with Yellow trail back to Giuffrida
-9/6/2021: 2.5 miles along Mt Higby ridge (out and back)
-9/6/2021: 1.6 miles along Hartford Reservoir 6
-9/10/2021: 24.7 miles from CT 147 to Jct with the Hubbard Park White Trail
-9/19/2021: 5.5 miles on MA section 7
-9/26/2021: 5.7 miles from MA 141 to Mt Tom ridge and back
-10/22/2021: 3.2 miles out and back along Hartford Reservoir 6
-11/6/2021: 3.2 miles out and back along Hartford Reservoir 6
-11/7/2021: 3.6 miles from Albany Ave and along Hartford Reservoir 6 and back
-11/10/2021: 3.2 miles out and back along Hartford Reservoir 6
-11/17/2021: 3.2 miles out and back along Hartford Reservoir 6
-11/20/2021: 6.4 miles from Albany Ave to Hublein Tower and back
-11/28/2021: 6.5 miles from Albany Ave to South Jct with the Talcott Mt Bypass; then from the North Jct with the Bypass trail to the Hublein Tower and back to Albany Ave
-12/3/2021: 5.4 miles from Albany Ave out and back along Hartford Reservoir 6; then south along the dike and up to the ridge and back
TOTAL: 102 Miles

Trail Story: 

This was my third year participating in the 100 mile challenge and easily my most challenging attempt. I’ve always appreciated this challenge as a way to motivate myself to stay in shape and push my physical capabilities, with this year’s attempt being no exception. This time, however, I found myself facing multiple hurtles to get all of the miles done, which really put my dedication to this challenge to the test.

I got a slow start to the challenge at the beginning of the year. In 2020, I put in over 120 miles on the NET, so admittedly, I was more interested in exploring sections of the Appalachian Trail and other trails on the CT Blue Blazed Trail system at the time. As spring came around though, I started chipping away at a few miles each week after work, and by summer, I had gotten back to using the trail on weekends to train for hiking the 4000 footers in New Hampshire.

By early September, however, I was disappointed to find that I had only accrued a bit over 30 miles on the NET for the year. Unsure of how much time I would have to hike during the fall, I decided to take a day off of work to attempt a big hike to at least hit the 50 mile mark. The route I settled on was the stretch from CT 147 to Hubbard Park, a rugged 25 mile stretch along some of CT’s most spectacular ridgelines including Mt Higby, Chauncey Peak, Lamentation Mt, and the Hanging Hills. This proved a very difficult physical and mental challenge for me, but the sense of adventure I experienced while looking out from the ridgelines at where I was heading, and the sense of accomplishment I felt as I looked back at places I’d already been earlier in the day, was a magnificent feeling. This ended up being my longest day hike to date, and I ultimately did reach the 50 mile mark for the challenge, something that I truly felt good about.

The year then took a turn for the worse shortly after my 25 mile NET adventure. I hadn’t quite lost hope of completing the 100 mile challenge, so the very next weekend, I set off to the Holyoke Range to attempt MA Section 7 and 8. I started on Old Mountain Rd at the beginning of Section 7 and enjoyed the rugged and steep climb to the Summit House, but I struggled as the trail continued across the roller coaster that is the Seven Sisters towards the Notch. As I made my slow traverse, I noticed a throbbing pain in my right knee that seemed to be getting progressively worse the further I went. Disappointed, I had no choice but to call it a day at the Notch Visitor Center and hope the knee issue resolved itself.

The following weekend, with no knee pain present after a week of rest, I decided to get some miles along Mt Tom on a gorgeous late September afternoon. All seemed well until I had made my way up to the top of the cliffs, when I began experiencing terrible pain in my knee again. I felt disappointed, knowing that I had been pushing myself too hard for weeks, and as a result, was not going to be able to hike for a while, making all hope of getting the 100 miles seem lost.

While I never found out what exactly was wrong with the knee, I was reassured it was not terribly serious and would be treatable with physical therapy over time. It was, however, painful enough to keep me from being able to handle any hiking with elevation or long distance. Luckily, the NET traverses a long and flat stretch along Hartford Reservoir 6, and I realized that with enough out and back hikes along this section, I could still reach 100 miles by year end. I was incredibly thankful for this, as it kept me motivated and with a continued sense purpose throughout October and November. It was not at all easy though. I frequently found myself frustrated that I was bounded to 3 or 4 miles at a time while I had been consistently hiking 10 to 20 miles all year long up until this point.

I continued to be diligent about putting in the miles each week though, continued to see physical improvement, and on December 3rd, I had reach 100 miles on the NET. Looking back, I am thrilled that despite the setbacks, I still managed to complete this awesome goal, and that through these experiences, I have takeaways that I can use to continue to better myself as a hiker for the rest of my life. As I look to 2022, I am excited for more incredible adventures that I am sure to have on this trail.

Steve Welgoss

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/4/2021

Home base: New York, NY

Miles: Exclusively by hiking, section-hiking sections 1 – 15.

Describe the NET: The NET offers a lot of variety, from smaller mountains to wooded areas to ridgelines. 

Advice for NET Hikers: Try to find a hiking group that can help you spot cars; it’s so much easier than having to out-and-back a section.

Trail Story: 

My favorite part about hiking long trails like this is the many variations in terrain, flora/fauna, people, etc., that you encounter along the way. It’s not just monotonous repetition, but each area is a new experience.

Kim Carlino

hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/7/2021

Home base: Northampton, MA

Miles: I have hiked over 500 miles on Mt. Tom this year- section 6 of the New England trail! 

Describe the NET: A scenic and varied trail that has everything! Great vistas, great community of fellow hikers and sub-alpine terrain with opportunity for new hikers to experienced hikers.

What do you love about the NET? I love that it’s in my backyard!

Advice for NET Hikers: Pack your 10 essentials and grab a map and start exploring to see what you discover.

Trail Story: 

Mt. Tom is my daily companion! This year I logged over 500 miles while redlining every trail and criss crossing the NET almost daily. This year I saw a bear for the first time on the trail and a record year for Pink Lady Slippers and Ghost Pipes. I’ve hiked numerous sections of the NET and can’t wait to complete the entire trail.

Stephanie Upadhyay

hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/6/2021

Home base: Meriden, CT

Miles: Hiked all of the CT NET, Sections 1-21, about 130 miles

What do you love about the NET? I’m extremely grateful to all the people who’ve contributed to creating, maintaining, and enjoying the trail! I love how peaceful the trail is and how it’s home to a lot of different wildlife, even the huge Eastern rat snack that just about made me jump out of my hiking shoes. 

Advice for NET Hikers:

1. Download the All Trails app.
2. Have a hiking buddy.
3. Even better, have a supply/transportation buddy. My husband made many drop-offs, pickups, and even a couple lunch runs to support my point-to-point hiking.
4. Dried mango is a great trail snack.
5. Build in time to enjoy the views! 

Dan & Nancy Coffey

hike100 participants

Date completed: 12/2/2021

Home base: Westfield, MA

Miles: We’ve hiked many sections of the trail this year but in September we decided to section hike the full trail in CT. Last year we hiked all of MA. To date we have completed all of the southern trail to just past Ragged Mountain (including the northwest spur to the CT river). We may complete the remainder this year but I didn’t want to forget to submit the entry.

Describe the NET: A very diverse trail.

What do you love about the NET? To start, it’s close by and easy to get to, and within a short distance, we can pick a different section depending on the time we have and the challenge we are looking for.

Trail Story: 

We found many “hidden” treasures in this section of the trail and got to appreciate just walking in the woods and paying attention to the surroundings versus trying to reach a peak or a special view. One day I just took pictures of the different varieties of mushrooms we came across, I took at least 100 pictures.