Sandy the Horse and
After much advance research about permissions, and many hundreds of miles driving & hiking to reconnoitre the trail at certain spots in advance, I completed the Mid State Trail on horseback last Saturday, November 10, going South to North.
This was a project I started in April, 2006, trailering out from my home ranch in Grafton, MA for day trips. Waiting to write til I was truly done, I don't have a full report yet, but I agree with various posters on the web site about places where the trail markers are hard to find, often just as dark is approaching, it seemed. Also, I too never saw a footprint, or _any sign_ of anyone else, anywhere on the trail, in the course of two springs and summers -- except on Mt Wachusett in late August 2007, and at Mt Watatic last weekend. And, yes, the shelters were in terrible shape.
There were only 3 spots where my Quarter Horse mare Sandy had to turn back, or go far around -- at two simple ditches (34.20N btw Rte 9 & Jones Rd, and 33.47N Burncoat Pond), and at the Crow Hills (approx 70.5N), where we bailed to the parking lot on Rte 31. Yes, Sandy followedthe yellow triangles up Mt Wachusett, Mt Hunger, and Mt Watatic! The people atop Mt Hunger were pretty shocked to see us come out on the overlook ledge, about two months ago. We are a very experienced long-distance team, and while we were fortunate to have no accidents or injuries on the MST, much of it qualifies as Extreme Trail Riding -- over half of it is definitely not for the average rider, and, having done it all, I would not recommend that half to any rider. I will be writing an article for horsemen soon about where and where not to try the MST. When it is done, I will let you know, in case any of your readers want a copy. If anyone has questions or concerns about this ride, do email me.
- Bet MacArthur