The proposed route of the New England Trail as spelled out on the New England Trail website has the West branch of the trail starting in New Haven, CT and ending at Mont Megantic in Quebec. The New England National Scenic Trail only goes up to the MA/NH border (it sounds like they’ll want to extend it later if the New Hampshire contingent agrees, but this may be in another lifetime), and the southern terminus is east of New Haven, further into the countryside.
Since the connector from the Mattabesett Trail to the coast probably won’t be finished by the time I start my hike (although I’ll have to look into this), I’ll probably use a modified version of the NE Trail route.
I’ll start at the Canadian Border rather than in Canada, due to the complications of planning a hike in another country. I’ll get around to Canadian hiking sometime– it sounds pretty nice. Heading south, I’ll stick to the Cohos Trail until it gets to Jefferson Village.
From there, I’ll zigzag south through the White Mountains, trying to hit dozens of major peaks. This section of my plan is a big, hazy cloud, with only an entrance (Cohos Trail) and exit (Plymouth). I’m going to send mail drops to myself in Jefferson, Bartlett and Waterville Valley, which should give me a good ten to fifteen days worth of supplies to get from Mt Washington (close to the end of the Cohos) to Mt Webster (near Plymouth).
From Plymouth, I won’t be doing the serious bushwhacking that the NE Trail website suggests. Rather, I’ll walk along roads to Cardigan State Park, where the Appalachian Mountain Club runs a campground/lodge. From there, another roadwalk to Sunapee, where the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail begins. That’s about 20 miles of roadwalking one day, followed by 27 the next day. I might want to edit this leg of the journey, since roadwalks are the least pleasant part of the trip.
Rather than walking the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway, I’ll just start south on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway until I reach Monadnock, where the second longest trail I’ll be using starts. The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail will bring me down to the Connecticut border, where it meets the Metacomet Trail, which, in turn, meets the Mattabesett Trail. Near Trimountain State Park I will get back on the roads to walk into Sleeping Giant State Park and then West Rock Ridge State Park, which will bring me to New Haven. If I’m feeling extra energetic that day, I may even go down to Lighthouse Point State Park, the southern terminus of the NE Trail’s Western branch.
According to Google Maps, a walking route from Third Connecticut Lake to Lighthouse Point State Park is about 325 miles. With all the trails and indirect routes, my best estimate is closer to 600 miles. If I start on September 27 or so, I should be done with enough time to make it home for Thanksgiving!