Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NH MSG Sections 1b-2a Old Troy Rd to Eliza Adams Gorge

Map box at the Old Troy Road parking area
The morning after completing the NET/M-M Trail by climbing up Mt. Monadnock, we were packing our bags getting ready to head back to Connecticut, and I said, "This is the last of our vacationing this year. Do we really want to race back to Connecticut?" We didn't. So after the packing was done, I continued walking the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway while my husband set off to try out an old golf course in Dublin.

The first Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway sign
What I really wanted after a day on Monadnock was to stretch my legs and just relax and walk without having to concentrate on the footing. The next five miles on the MSG fit the bill perfectly. It was a breeze.

Ground Pine and mossy rock line the trail
I had never heard of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway until I began researching the New Hampshire section of the M-M Trail. The name is long and awkward and I've seen it shortened to MSG, M-S Greenway, M-S Trail, and MSG Trail.  The most common seems to be MSG, so that's what I'll use, while trying not to think of the food additive.

Well, this is nice. It's so flat and even. 
The term"greenway" can be a little confusing. A greenway was originally meant to be a corridor of protected green space, sometimes with a trail through it, typically in an urban or suburban setting. There are greenways with no trails.  But in some areas and for some people, the term greenway evolved to be synonymous with trail, especially where a major trail dominated a minor green corridor, like a rail-trail. So a greenway can mean either a preserved natural area or a trail depending on where you live and who you're talking to. Confusing. But whatever it's called, it's a lovely trail.

Sign board in the middle of nowhere
I had picked up an MSG trail map at a book store in Keene a few days prior, you know, just in case, so I was prepared. Don't know if I'll hike the rest of this trail, but I would love to. It has shelters and is more set up for backpacking, something I wasn't able to do this year due to injuries.

Is there a name for the route from Long Island Sound to Mt. Sunapee other than the awkward NET/M-M/SWG?   Sound-Sunapee route? Does anyone even hike from the Sound to Sunapee?

Pond seems to be flooded

"Dam every culvert", the beaver's creed. 
The trail was well marked and well-traveled and peaceful.  The M-M Trail in New Hampshire was very spare, with a minimalist's approach to blazes and signs. There was always a little blaze where you needed one, and no more. Here the blazes were bolder, easier to pick out at a distance, and there were a number of trail signs.

We're back to hand-made signs :)

Following old woods roads

Glossy Buckthorn, an invasive shrub thriving under powerlines

Trail section protected by an easement
After several miles of easy walking, the trail passes by the first shelter. There are several shelters along the way to Mt. Sunapee, although no fires are allowed. This one came equipped with a book of Irish Fairy Tales.

Spiltior Shelter

Irish Fairy Tales??

Such a beautiful day
The highlight of this hike was the scenic Howe Reservoir and the gorge. The water in the reservoir came to a high, narrow dam, then crashed over the top and dropped into the gorge with an impressive roar.

Howe Reservoir

Howe Reservoir
The trail crossed over the raging water via a two part bridge and then rambled on up the hill.

Interesting bridge over Eliza Adams Gorge

Eliza Adams Gorge, without the roaring sound
And then it was just bit further through a sunny area that's been recently logged before arriving at Brown Road, the designated pick up point.

Logged area
According to the MSG map, Brown Road is at Mile 6.8 along the trail, and the summit of Sunapee is at Mile 48.0.  Well, it's a start, and I have something to look forward to next year perhaps.

Brown Road

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