Austin Williams

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/2/2021

Home base: Wethersfield, CT

Miles: I’m working towards hiking the entire trail and completed CT Sections 2-7, CT 15-16, CT 21, and MA 1-6 as out and back hikes.

Trail Story: 

I learned about the New England Trail and this challenge in 2020 and completed the Hike 50 challenge. When the Hike 100 challenge was announced for 2021, I set that as my new goal with a long-term plan to section hike the entire trail. To date, I have 22/40 sections under my belt! I love having a local trail with many beautiful places I can hike. The trail offers a variety of terrain and scenery and motivates me to get out of the house and stay active!

Richard Comshaw

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 12/2/2021

Home base: Middletown, CT

Miles: Section hiked the Menunkatuck trail, section hiked for a total of over 50 miles on the Metacomet trail and 40+ of the Mattabassett trail.

Describe the NET: Mostly ridge walking with lots of good views. Occasional road walking.

What do you love about the NET? The fact that you can be fairly far away from roads despite being in CT.

Advice for NET Hikers: Get a pair of good, waterproof boots.

Trail Story: 

Any hike on the NET is good. The best thing is that they drain well so you can safely get out to them quickly after the rain. The intersection of the Matt & then Menunkatuck is one of my favorites.

Paul, Eva, Levi, & Alan Schned

Hike100 participants

Date completed: 12/2/2021

Home base: Avon, CT

Miles: The vast majority of our hiking has taken place in Connecticut. I live within 1 mile of the NET and we frequently hike within the Avon/Farmington/Simsbury area. That said, we have hiked multiple sections within Massachusetts and the majority of the trail within Connecticut this past year. We are well over 100 miles of hiking (and trail running) this year.

Describe the NET: A well-marked, well-maintained easily accessible intra-state hiking trail.

What do you love about the NET? The accessibility of the trail- I am spoiled by living within 1 mile of the trail.

Advice for NET Hikers: Full send! The trail offers a little bit for everyone- there’s flat, steep, and everything in between sections. 

Trail Story: 

The NET has been my family’s #1 activity during COVID. I live in Connecticut and my parents live in Vermont and we have made regular trips to various sections of the Massachusetts trail which is approximately halfway between our two homes. We have also begun slowly piece-meal hiking the entire NET within Connecticut and came close to completing the entire trail within the state this past year. We also frequently hike the trail over and over again near our house- as we are fortunate to live within 1 mile of trail in Avon/Farmington, CT.

Kristen Zebrowski

hike50 participant

Date completed: 12/8/2021

Home base: Chicopee, MA

Describe the NET: Beautiful and well-marked trail. If I could, I would hike this trail every day to completion 

Mat Jobin

Hike100 participant

Date completed: 11/28/2021

Home base: Collinsville, CT

Miles: I hiked 100 miles along many sections of the NET in CT and MA. I hiked 50 of those miles with my cat Dixon and the rest on solo hikes or when leading group backpacking trips.

Describe the NET: Unique, challenging, awe-inspiring, special, fun.

What do you love about the NET? I love having a shorter long-distance trail close by. As someone who now has a busy schedule managing and owning a business, I don’t have multiple months available at the moment like I used, to do a longer thru-hike. I’m grateful for those experiences I had in the past and the trail is always calling after those experiences so I’m happy that trails like the NET exist where I can still get out and thru-hike for a few weeks while still being able to balance with work and life.

Advice for NET Hikers: Get out there and enjoy it! Purchase the map set and CFPA Walk Book. Use the interactive map on their website, get out on a guided trip on the trail with a professional guide/NET hiker like myself or with a group of your own and experience the trail.

Trail Story: 

It always feels great to be out hiking on this trail. The NET holds a special place in my heart.

Dixon the Adventure Cat

hike50 "cat"icipant

Date completed: 11/28/2021

Home base: Collinsville, CT

Miles: I hiked 50 miles in sections with my human Mat, throughout 2021. Most of these hikes were in CT, but I enjoyed hiking on the trail with him a couple of times in Massachusetts too. We finished my 50 mile goal with a fall foliage hike together in October.

Describe the NET: Quirky, challenging, fun, beautiful, and full of various plants to smell.

What do you love about the NET? I take after my dad and love long-distance hiking trails so I am happy there is another one that is nationally designated in the state like the AT. I love that it is close to home too. I’d rather be out on the trail than in the car =).

Advice for NET Hikers: Tell your human that you want to get out and see the state through this beautiful trail. Make sure they bring enough treats, water, and a first aid kit. Also, remind them to bring your harness and leash so that you both can practice good LNT.

Trail Story: 

I love the NET and spending time on it with my human. I enjoy stopping to appreciate nature, smelling plants and taking in the views. I surprise him every time we get out there together!

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.