After the stunning views and isolation from society, some of the most interesting things about a big hike like this are the few stops in towns to resupply, wash up, eat a “real” meal, and pretend that I’m not a filthy mountain goat. I’ve got several town stops scheduled into my itinerary, and so far every one of them looks like it will be pretty great. Of course, some of them are planned without my having a concrete idea of how I’ll make them work– hostels are not everywhere on this trail like they are on the Appalachian Trail.
For the first couple days, I’ll be near the town of Pittsburg, New Hampshire. I’ll have to stay in commercial campgrounds and hopefully a hostel for the first few nights, since there is no camping allowed along this stretch of trail.
Next stop will be Jefferson Village, where I plan to resupply and hopefully grab a bite to eat.
Next up: AMC’s Highland Center in Crawford Notch. Lodging here is a lot more expensive than I’d like, so I might just stop by and pick up a mail-drop, then continue on my way.
Waterville Valley is where the next mail-drop will be. There are a couple US Forest Service campgrounds there, so I will pick up a mail drop, stay at the camp ground, and pick up some good eats in town if I can find a place that will cater to me.
Next stop, Plymouth. I don’t know where I can stay in town, but I’m hoping to find someone who will put up with my stench for a night. It’s a bustling little college town, so I’m hoping that someone from Views From The Top or Couchsurfing.com will be around. Any kind souls in the area?
From Plymouth, I’ve got a road/trail walk to Cardigan State Park, and then Sunapee. If I can find a place to stay or camp near Sunapee, that will make my life much easier. After Sunapee, it looks like things get much easier since I’ll be on trails continuously until the last day of the trip. Sure, there will be some roadwalks, but they’re all part of trails and none of them are as long as the Plymouth to Sunapee section.
On the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail, I’ll walk through the town of Washington, which might hopefully provide a lunch break for me. The next big stop should be once I get over Monadnock. I’ll be close to Keene and to Hancock (where my grandmother lives). I think I’ll be able to find a place to stay nearby.
Once I pass into Massachusetts (finally, a new state!), an exciting thing will happen: the trail goes right by the Leverett Food Co-op! I stopped by here on my scouting trip on the M-M in April, and it looks like an amazing to resupply and eat lots of delicious food. It’s in a very tiny town, but seems to be a wonderful little market with the usual organic/local fare as far as co-ops go. It’s usually pretty hard to eat “good” food while hiking, so this will be a great change of pace for a day or two.
Next stop, somewhere near Northampton. The M-M Trail crosses the Connecticut River near Northampton and Amherst, but I’ll have to find an alternate way around the river because I’m not such a good swimmer. If I’m lucky, I could find a place to stay in Northampton, then continue walking the next day.
From there, I get to a more populated area, so I’ll have to distinguish between town stops and town walkthroughs. I think the only town I will definitely stop in for much time in Connecticut is Tarifville, where the trail passes through the town park. That’s as good a place as any to pick up a maildrop, I think.
From there, it’s a non-stop walk to New Haven, the final destination for this trip. New Haven is a big city. It will be a huge shock. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there.
The next phase of planning is to figure out how I’ll manage to stay in or near these towns. Anybody?