One of the tricky parts of planning my hike from the Cohos down to Connecticut is the fact that there’s no one guide for the entire trip. I’ve had to purchase more guidebooks and maps for this than I think I’ve had at any time before. Here’s the rundown:
–The Cohos Trail guidebook, colored map set, and databook (Cohos Trail Association)
The guidebook reads just as much like a hiker’s memoir as it does a guidebook. I won’t bring it with me on the trail, but it’s a nice book to have as far as telling a story about the creation of the trail. I’ll probably only bring the maps, which have all kinds of practical information packed into them. Shelters, water sources, resupply points, and campgrounds are all marked with simple letters. Small captions point out all kinds of other information, like possible relocations, views, and places to be alert.
-White Mountains Hiking Trails guidebook and map set (Appalachian Mountain Club)
The tried and true classic guidebook for New England’s biggest hiking hotspot. I’ll be leaving the guidebook at home and taking the maps with me. I’m not sure if I’ll drop the cash to upgrade to the fancy, waterproof tyvek maps, but it would probably be smart since I don’t know how well my current paper ones will hold up.
-New Hampshire Atlas & Gazetteer (DeLorme)
-Connecticut & Rhode Island Atlas & Gazetteer (DeLorme)
I needed to use these just to give myself a better view of how the various trail systems connected. I left out Massachusetts because the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail takes care of the entire state with one trail. For New Hampshire, I’d have to use four different guides, and for Connecticut, several sets of maps from the same book.
–Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Guide (Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail Club)
A pretty short trail, but the guidebook and map are top notch. AMC made the maps for the MSGTC, so it is a nice glossy waterproof map with different colors for state parks and conservation land. The guidebook itself is small, but I probably won’t need to carry it with me, either. Just the map.
–Metacomet-Monadnock Trail guidebook (Berkshire Chapter of the AMC)
This is probably the low point as far as guidebooks go for this hike. The guidebook has no separate maps, and the maps that are in the book are merely black & white copies of USGS topos with a dark green line superimposed for the trail. There is useful information on water sources and shelters on the maps, but as for side trails and road crossings, I probably won’t be taking the book out of my pack very often. On the other hand, the guidebook is very small, so it won’t waste space in my pack, and the M-M Trail seems to be well marked and easy to follow for the most part.
-Connecticut Walks Book West (Connecticut Forest & Park Association)
Slightly better than the M-M Trail Guidebook is the Connecticut Walks Book. The maps and guides for each trail are very basic, although none of these trails are intended for backpacking. The one part of this guidebook that excels over the others: it comes in a small three-ring binder, so you can just take out the sections you want to use without damaging the guidebook as a whole. VERY great idea!