Thursday, February 27, 2014

North South Trail Trek Preview

The North South Trail (NST) runs the entire length of Rhode Island from the Atlantic Ocean to Douglas State Forest on the Massachusetts border. The 78 mile path passes through eight state-owned wildlife management areas. Between these management areas, the NST travels on quiet, scenic roads through small towns and villages. The terrain varies from flat roads to steep, rocky paths. And I heard there's one heck of a boulder field somewhere on the trail!

North South Trail

I originally planned to hike the NST as part of a 200 mile, three state thru-hike of the Wapack (NH), Mid State (MA) and North South (RI) trails. The more I thought about this plan the less practical it sounded. Work is crazy busy and will continue that way for most of the year and it's unlikely I could take a two week vacation needed to complete the hike. It's possible I could do it in less time but then the hike would feel rushed and not enjoyable. I had to come up with a Plan B. 

The North South Trail Council comes to the rescue!

The NST Council sponsors an annual trek of the NST which consist of six day hikes on alternating weekends. The hikes range in length from 11 to 17 miles. The council provides transportation to the trail head and participants hike back to their vehicles parked further up the trail. This sounds much better than calling for a cab like I often did on my solo hikes on the Bay Circuit Trail! The council also provides water and snacks at the mid-point of the hike. You cant ask for more than that, can you?

I'll be starting "The Trek" in nine days as long as the trails in RI are free of snow and ice. This seems unlikely given the current snowpack and a 10 day forecast of below freezing temperatures and possible snow. I think the start date will probably get pushed out two weeks but I certainly hope it doesn't. I have a severe case of cabin fever.

Damn you, Old Man Winter! 

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