We stayed dry all night, even though three or four thunderstorms came through during the night. The Big Agnes Fly Creek tent worked! I’m a fan of my tarp over the tent because it covers a larger area with minimal weight. This tent is a one-person size! We fit snuggly, and the raincover hangs just inches out from the inner tent, not the generous two-feet overhang of the tarp. What I like about the tent is its free-standing setup. That works well for this walk.
Our walk down Gap Mountain into Troy, NH took only an hour, winding steeply through birch trees and hammocks amid big rocks. I do enjoy the northern woods!
The map showed a roadwalk into town, our first of many on this trail. The paved back road took us past the town recycling center on a Saturday morning. It was a busy route, with plenty of local residents dropping off their deposits! We wonder what locals think of hikers, if they even know of the trail traversing their town. We get courteous waves and no interaction.
We were happy that the main road sported a sidewalk, making the entry into town safe. There’s the library, open at 10:00. It’s 8:30 a.m. We cruise around the building and discover a water faucet and a covered electric outlet, features dear to a hiker. We need both, but it’s rainy and we don’t want to sit outside. We discuss what we want to accomplish in a town visit. We don’t need food as our packs are laden with plenty for five days!
We follow the white blazes (same as in the Appalachian Trail) to the old train depot and find it’s just a museum, not a visitor center. There’s the Troy Deli and Market, however, where we land. It’s a perfect hiker spot complete with deli, bathroom, tables near outlets, T.V., and a good selection of produce and drygoods. One could resupply here easily! A restful hour gives us a partial phone recharge, a tasty fruit salad, quick cleanup, welcome reception, and the sad news that Aretha Franklin passed away.
The road out of town, Prospect Road, started out paved, that have way to a dirt road, packed with deep puddles. We managed to skirt then with dry feet. Then, it started to rain. I fumbled with my rain poncho, rigging it to cover my pack, getting wet instead of staying dry. Frustrated, I allowed myself some compassion for adjusting to being on trail again after a year’s respite! Soon after we resumed our puddle avoiding, John said, “I haven’t seen a blaze for a while. We continued, figuring this road must be the logical way. 10 minutes later, there’s still no blazes. We turn around, walk back, glad that the downpour has stopped. We do indeed find that we had missed the turn off the road about a half mile back.
A rest with a snack puts us in walking mood again. The trail ascends pleasantly to Little Monadnock, with a view to Monadnock and little else resembling its namesake. In its clearing though we dry our poncho and tent fly and eat hummus on ted pepper, a favorite lunch.
The rest of the day’s walk takes us through another boggy forest, around a swamp and over a couple of rushing creeks. One required a ford. We chose to find a safe one a hundred yards upstream!
With feet truly wet now, we picked the white blaze route to continue, through a swamp over the longer “dry-shod” route promised by a hand-painted sign. Bog puddles lined with thick moss provided some splashing fun.
Our day ended in Massachusetts at the Royleston Falls Shelter. We had reached the official northern terminus of the New England Trail, which continues to share the route with the older Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, signed as M-M.
This second day on the trail gave us a taste of the NET – wet, lush woods, steep but short ups and downs, and a well-blazed route.
We were happy for a legal place to spend the night, although we preferred to sleep in our own tent pitched nearby. In it we know what we’re getting! I find trail shelters to be unpredictably occupied with trash and mice.