Update 1: Long Island Sound to Reed Gap/CT68

Day 1: (Saturday May 6th) 7.0mi/11.3km

Chittenden Park (0.0) to Nut Plains Woods (7.0)

I arrived to the parking lot at 5:30pm, and made the short walk over to the Southern Terminus of the trail! From here, the trail travels north for 215 miles, which I aimed to complete over 6 weekends.

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There was a trail register, and I signed in to make it feel “official”.

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Then, as I was walking away up the gravel path, a friendly couple saw me with a large backpack, and asked where I’m going. I described how this path is part of a larger trail which travels all the way to New Hampshire. They’re impressed, but also advised me to move my car – there’s no overnight parking anywhere near hear. Well, crap. So, I got back in my car and drove to the other end of this trail segment (30+ trail miles away), parked my car there, and got an Uber back to the starting monument. An hour and a half later, and I was finally ready to hike. It was now 7:15pm, and sunset was at 7:55pm…

 

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The view of the ocean was nice, though cloudy. I didn’t linger, darkness was coming! Interestingly, this trail uses blue blazes for markers (the AT uses white blazes).

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The trailhead kiosk had these helpful maps for this section of trail. It was mostly road walking for the first 5 miles.

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The trail started in a densely populated area, so it followed neighborhood roads, with the markings on utility poles.

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I was moving fast, so I didn’t take any other photos except this one. I think it’s a small creek crossing in the dark, around 9pm.

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The NET in connecticut has very limited camping, so I had to be creative.

 

Day 2: (Sunday May 7th) 26.4mi/42.5km

Nut Plains Woods (7.0) to Reed Gap/CT68 (33.4)

I wasn’t tired, and I was awake and 5:30am, and back on the trail by 6am. It was cool to watch the sunrise, which was about 5:45am for this area. This section of trail had both blazes and markers, and I thought the markers were a perfect representation of this trail!

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This part of the world is very low elevation, so there were many bog bridges to cross this morning.

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After about an hour of hiking, I stopped to eat 2nd breakfast at a nice wide bridge.

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If I can’t get a picnic table, or flat rock, a bridge is a good substitute!

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Of course, just a few minutes’ hike past my chosen breakfast spot was the most perfect flat rock I’ve ever seen. D’oh.

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The classic hiker/backpacker sign. Their backpacks are tiny, and hiking poles are huge!

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Around mid-morning, in the middle of the forest, I come across an abondoned hiking shoe. Just one shoe, not the pair…which is really strange. Onward!

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This section wasn’t fun to cross, it was very deep schlup-y mud. I eventually found a detour around the temporary pond.

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In the afternoon, the trail finally started to climb higher up onto a ridge, and I was able to get some views!

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I’m glad it’s still early spring, the leaves don’t obsure the viewpoints yet!

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I hiked thru these flowers for awhile, they were like a carpet. I wish I was better at the names of local flora.

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It’s still early springtime here…

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Looking down on the Ulbrich Reservoir, the water supply for Wallingford CT.

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My attempted selfie with a broken phone screen…close enough!

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At the end of the day, I came to the first of three official NET campsites in Connecticut.

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It looked pretty nice! A couple of shelters, a fire pit, chairs, storage bins, a privy, and even some windows. If I was thru-hiking this trail, I definitely would’ve camped there. But it’s Sunday night, so instead I have to drive back home and go to work. 😦

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The shelter had this plaque on the wall, I thought it matched my sentiments exactly.

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A mile later, and I was back at my car by 6pm. A local aspiring author had left their business card to promote their book.

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Despite getting such a late start on Saturday, I was pretty proud that I was able to get in over 33 miles this weekend! It was a 2 hour drive back home, so naturally my thoughts wandered to planning my next section hike on this trail, which will be in June.

 

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