April 17, 2014

Shoulder Season Backpacking on the Midstate Trail

About this time every year I get a case of itchy feet. No, not some strange rash or skin funk but an overwhelming desire to put on my backpack and start walking on something other than snow.

A few weeks ago while surfing online for a cure to my itch I stumbled upon the Midstate Trail in Massachusetts.  Let’s see, it's 95 miles long, traverses the low hills of central Mass’, and 3 hours south of here. The snow should be gone. Voila! I think I found my cure.

Last weekend I put together an overnight backpack and headed down to the hiker parking lot on Route 119 in Ashburnham, MA. From there the Wapack Trail heads north into New Hampshire while the Midstate Trail goes south to Rhode Island. The parking lot was busy with day hikers and trail runners heading north to Watatic Mountain. Fortunately my plan was to head south 9.2 miles to the Muddy Pond Shelter:
The northern end of the Midstate Trail and the Southern end of the Wapack Trail overlap for 1.75 miles
The trail is well marked with bright yellow triangular blazes

Every road crossing is well signed and blazed leaving no confusion which way the trail goes.

The Midstate Trail crosses a lot of private land. It is the good will of private landowners that allow this unique resource. Please tread lightly and with respect.

View of Watatic Mountain.

The only major water crossing I encountered. The trail crosses this stream atop a stone wall. 

The Muddy Pond Shelter is rather old and drafty but the location is remarkable!
This is my home for the night at the Muddy Pond Shelter site. 

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