Nipmuck Trail

Nipmuck Trail
~45 miles

July 23, 2010

nipmuckI sort of look at the Nipmuck as the Shenipsit’s baby brother. Both trails are north-south affairs that both travel a little over 40 miles to the Massachusetts border. As the Shenipsit is closer to larger cities, it traverses much more suburbia and ruburbia (rural suburbs, term courtesy of Robert Thorson). I look at the Shenipsit’s current state as a warning to what may become of the Nipmuck in 10 or 20 years. But I don’t think so as much of the Nipmuck is on public land and most notably, Joshua’s Trust.

The Nipmucks were an Algonquin tribe that lived in what is now Massachusetts. That’s fitting because while the Nipmuck officially stops at the Massachusetts border up in Union, some side trails (that are officially part of the CT400 (825) list I’m completing do extend up into that enemy territory. Wish me luck with that incursion when I get there.

While the Shenipsit excited me because I really like finding “nature” in surprising places – like right alongside interstate highways for example, something the Shenipsit seems to enjoy – the Nipmuck excites me because I know parts of it are pretty much as remote as one can get in the Nutmeg State. From the two southern trailheads in Mansfield and North Windham, the trail become one near Mansfield Hollow Dam and travels north along the Fenton River up to Willington, Ashford and ultimately Union.

Ashford and Union are two of the state’s least populous towns. The trail also ambles literally right through at least two museum parking lots (Mansfield Historical Society Museum and the Gurleyville Gristmill) and passes near several named rocks and caves.

Let’s get to it.

Go to section 1A of the Nipmuck Trail

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