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Event Rating: Level 4 (Difficult)
Recommended for members who have completed one or more Level 3 hikes
Distance: ~11.6 miles
Time Duration: ~5.5 hours (including car spotting)
Blaze Orange: recommended
The Nipmuck Trail extends 36 miles from Route 6 at the south end of Mansfield CT to the CT / MA state border. We will hike this trail in 4 sections, each one about 11.5 miles. (Yes I know the math doesn’t add up, I added in a few interesting / more challenging side trails to two of the shorter sections.) The terrain along this trail is easy to moderate most of the way, with a few bigger hills in the last two sections. These will be through hikes, spotting cars at the end and carpooling to the start. I will need a few volunteers to assist with carpooling.
Section 2 begins on Eastford Road in Ashford CT, and extends to Old Turnpike Road, Just off Route 44 at the Mansfield / Willington town line . I haven't hiked most of this section yet, but will recon some of the near-road sections on Friday. I also found better trail maps at:
http://www.ctxguide.com/nipmuck_003.htm and http://www.ctxguide.com/nipmuck_004.htm .
The terrain here looks to be a little more challenging than Section 1. I would call it easy to moderate. Most of this section is upland forest with wetlands and smaller streams in the valleys. It is mostly in the Natchaug State Forest, with few signs of civilization except for a few road crossings.
Directions: Follow Route 44 to Old Turnpike Road in Mansfield, just west of the Ashford town line or, from the west, about 1 mile past Route 195. Turn onto Old Turnpike Road, go about 1/4 mile to the bridge over the Fenton River. We will park along the roadside. From there we will carpool east on Route 44 to North Road in Ashford, and continue to the trailhead (North Road becomes Eastford Road), where we will park along the road. The trailhead is about 1/2 mile southeast from the intersection with Boston Hollow Road.
I strongly recommend printing out a map of the route and turn by turn directions to the point on the map link above - GPS isn't reliable out here, and when you lose the signal and don't have a map and the road signs are missing and you hear the banjos start playing, well that's when the frustration and unpleasant language begin.
As always, don't forget to dress properly - layers, waterproof breathable windbreaker, no cotton, sturdy hiking boots, etc. Bring plenty of water and some energy-boosting snacks to power through to the finish. If there is interest we will go for a re-hydration/food stop afterwards. Theres a nice new café nearby next to the UConn campus.
As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity you acknowledge and agree to the following: this activity involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death to participants and/or others; you assume all risk associated with this activity; you are responsible for having the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, clothing, and equipment to safely participate in this activity; you know and will follow the Hiker Responsibility Code described at www.hikesafe.com; the leader(s) of this activity are volunteers; and you for yourself, your heirs, executors, and administrators release, hold harmless, and indemnify the leader(s) and all members of this group from any and all claims for property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death - including those caused by negligence and/or other reasons.