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!
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!