Today my new fall hiking adventure began. Last year it was hiking all the trails of Mount Wachusett. This year it’s hiking the Midstate Trail. And if we don’t finish it in the fall (it’s 93 miles total), we’ll finish it up in the spring. As long as we keep on hiking, that’s all that counts.
I’m hiking it with a friend named Annie. We took a selfie. I’m sorry, I’m not posting it. Talk about getting too close to a camera…..need one of those selfie sticks.
The trail map put out for the Midstate Trail is less than wonderful. We got a little lost trying to find the beginning. That granite marker sitting on top of the stone wall (picture above). We wound up going up Mount Watatic first then taking a trail down to the marker. But we missed a turn and got lost. I wound up pulling out my phone and opening up Google Maps and we saw that we had hiked past the MA border. So we turned around and went back down a path we had debated taking earlier (the missed turn). Sure enough, the marker was down there.
This is the marker at the top of the mountain.
Basically, we hiked a total of 7 miles in and around this mountain. A nice place to hike, but we never got to where Annie left her car. We just went back to mine. So next time, we start at the parking lot for Mount Watatic and head south.
For future reference – or yours, if you are planning on doing this – the entrance to Mount Watitic is on route 119 in Ashburnham. We got there via Fitchburg to route 12 towards Ashburnham (there is a marker to the trail head a little beyond Jewel Hill Road, where we parked Annie’s car). Then you can drive into Ashburnham center and take a right onto Ashby Road (rt 101) and then a left onto rt 119.
Once you’ve parked your car at Watatic, here’s a map:
Stay to the left and head back to the NH state line, then take the Wapack trail and stay right on the Midstate Trail. However, that doesn’t get you to the top of the mountain, which would be a shame to miss. I’m not even sure we hit that section of the midstate trail because we took Wapack to the top. I guess we might have to have a do-over when we start the next leg. Too bad there isn’t a great Midstate Trail map. (I’m not kidding, check this out. The guide is a little better, but still not wonderful.) I’m going to have to create one when this is all done!
Also, the trail guide says to follow the yellow triangles. Wapack Trail is has yellow triangle markers. A portion of the Midstate Trail had blue triangle markers. It really was all very unclear. But that’s what makes an adventure! And it was a great hike today. I love mountains.
Addendum: I went to EMS Sports today looking for a better trial guide. There is a book put out by the AMC that has a bunch of trails in MA, but it is all descriptive. Still, I read the description of what we did and I think that piece of the trail I highlighted actually must be part of the top of the mountain. No elevation marks, so hard to tell. I was going by the old ski trail marks, but maybe they were beyond where we were standing.
So happy for you starting this new adventure! Reflecting back to when I hiked it in 2011 (July-October), it is a wonderful trail in concept but particularly tough to follow. Definitely a great attitude to think of it as an adventure. Next you should be finding amount Hunger, a sweet little gem I new nothing about until hiking the Midstate 🙂 Enjoy and safe hiking!! (Oh and when you get to Muddy Pond-beautiful but note there is a very large milk snake that lives under the shelter-harmless and he eats the shelter mice but still spooked me first time!!)
Ha, Cher, thanks for that snake warning (and your other encouragement). I love snakes but I probably would have been spooked, too. I’ll just say, “hi, Cher’s friend!” if I meet him. 🙂
I seriously want to put out a trail map myself after finding no good ones (I was just at EMS Sports today). Not that I know ANYTHING about typography, but hey, I could learn….