I got to revisit the southern terminus of the Mid State Trail a couple of weeks ago and found myself very homesick for the MST. I thought I would share my top 10 favorite things about hiking this section of the Great Eastern Trail.
1. Remoteness. Sure, the trail occasionally goes through towns, but the vast majority of the MST felt wild and untamed.
2. Wildlife. Hillbilly Bart and I had more bear encounters on the Mid State Trail than any other host trail along the Great Eastern Trail. We saw porcupines, deer, turtles, snakes, frogs, and countless birds.
3. Solitude. This is a trail that deserves more traffic than it sees, but it was incredible to go days without seeing another person.
4. Sense of humor. Those responsible for the guidebook and resupply guide slip in little nuggets of humor that you might miss on first read. But even on-trail you'll see the MST's sense of humor, with signs that refer to it as the "Metric System Trail" along with signed landmarks such as "Crocodile Spring."
5. Overlooks. They're phenomenal. Enough said.
6. Variety. Lakes, streams, valleys, ridgetops, fields, forests of all varieties . . . the Mid State Trail is one of the most diverse trails I've hiked.
7. Range of difficulty. Want an easy hike? The trail around Cowansque Lake or on the Lower Trail section are good bets. Want a good workout? Try climbing up to Gillespie Peak. Whatever your ambition level, the Mid State Trail has a section that's what you're looking for.
8. Water. Particularly on the northern half of the Mid State Trail, the springs are works of art. On the southern half, Maple Run Valley has one of the prettiest streams I've ever seen
9. Trail towns. What town could be more welcoming than Everett? And how many towns provide a shelter in their city park like Woolrich? The trail towns along the Mid State Trail are some of the best along any trail.
10. People. The people behind the trail, that is. The blazes are bright and easy to follow and trail volunteers work tirelessly to make the MST a great hiking experience. It's a huge job, and they tackle it valiantly. Thanks to the Mid State Trail Association for all you do!