Dun Dun Duuunn! Did She Slackpack?
I’m still chipping away at The NET, albeit a little slowly. I left for a big trip to Montana and Alberta, Canada. Where I, of course, found the CDT and took my picture at the CDT/PNWT terminus at the International Boundary. Duh.
The return travel home was a complete and total nightmare. The absolute worst travel experience I’ve ever had. It took 43 hours to get home, four canceled flights, one delayed flight that made us miss a layover, going through security four times, customs twice, seven customer service lines, and, eventually, a six-hour train ride home from Washington DC because the airline’s idea was to make us wait another day. And the icing on the cake: ALL of our luggage was lost. And, because we camped in Glacier NP, that included my tent, sleeping pad and quilt, water filter, hiking shoes, you know, just all of the stuff that I needed for the NET. I have, thankfully, gotten everything back, but any return to the NET had to be pushed back a little bit.
It’s a Slackpacker’s World
On the Appalachian Trail I hated slackpacking. I tried it in Virginia and did not enjoy it. At all. I felt disoriented not having my stuff with me and I found myself rushing through the section just to be done with it.
However, I have now realized that it’s not because I have a problem with slackpacking itself, it just didn’t fit my goal at that time. The AT, to me, was all about the experience and seeing as much as I could. Rushing through miles just to get them done was counterintuitive to what the whole thing was about for me. I wanted to slow down and have everything I needed on me at all times and just live on the trail. Thus, the distaste for slackpacking.
On the NET, however, my only goal is to hike every mile. That’s it. Nothing more. I was getting antsy not having a goal to work towards and hadn’t done a backpacking trip yet this year and that was that. So, even though I haven’t recently had any reasonable piece of time to backpack more of it, I’ve done another chunk of miles on the trail by slackpacking. I park my car where I want to finish and get an Uber ride to where I last got off trail and, voila, slackpack myself to my car. And it’s totally fine because my goal isn’t to live on the trail or have a lifestyle change. I’m just out there hitting the miles and having some fun.
Starting just north of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, things started to become a little familiar. I’ve done a lot of day hikes on the NET throughout Connecticut and Southern Mass. It’s been cool to connect the dots. Places where, on a day hike, I turned around, but now get to keep going and see what’s on the other side. NET aside, I’m digging this point-to-point hiking. I hope to incorporate this into my hiking in the future but, of course, that will always depend on the presence of Uber in an area.
Crossing into Connecticut
I’ve officially crossed into Connecticut. It will never not be cool to hike over state lines. Now, in CT, the trail will be marked by blue blazes instead of white. One thing I noticed very immediately is that the trail is better marked in CT than in Mass. In general, the NET is very easy to follow, but every once in a while, it gets a little weird and I found myself scouring trees trying to find a blaze. Interestingly enough, I had the exact same thoughts on the Massachusetts portion of the AT as well.
As much as I’ve enjoyed the slackpacking, I do want to do more overnights. My next weekend free I’ll be doing just that. I’m hitting the section of trail that I live closest to, so I’ll have easy access and I’m really excited to hike my familiar haunts.
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