Monday, March 30, 2009

Triple M Trail

180px-Higbymountain The Metacomet-Monadnock-Mattabesett Trail system, otherwise known as the MMM Trail or Triple M Trail, is now just a signature away from becoming the first trail in 25 years to be accepted as one of the National Scenic Trails in America. President Obama will be the last to sign off on this trail protection bill.

On March 25th, 2009, legislation to adopt the trail as the 9th scenic trail in the country was passed by the House Of Representatives as part of a package of environment and land protection bills. Chris Dodd, Democrat Senator from CT, along with fellow Democrat Congressman Chris Murphy, were both instrumental in pushing for the Triple M Trail's inclusion as a National Scenic Trail. "The MMM Trail provides countless hours of recreation and relaxation to the people of Connecticut," spoke Dodd. "Today, we move one step closer to gaining access to federal resources for the protection and preservation of this precious national treasure." Congressman Murphy also added his thoughts, "This bill will give the trail access to grants and resources to help in its maintenance and preservation, all while maintaining its cooperatively-managed character."

The bill, known as the New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act, was included in a collection of more than 160 public lands bills, also known as the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. The bills which pass will be protected "against increasing pressures from residential subdivision growth," as quoted on Senator Dodd's website.


The Triple M Trail consists of the Metacomet & Mattabesett Trails in Connecticut & the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail in Massachusetts. Depending on the source you get your info from, the entire trail is noted as being anywhere from 190-220 miles long. The length known for each of the trails follows:

At any rate, this is wonderful news to all who've enjoyed hiking any part of these trails in the past. Yet, as with any bill that receives support, there remain others who aren't happy with the legislation. This following excerpt is from the

"But Cinda H. Jones, president of Amherst-based Cowls Sawmill and Land Co., called the measure "a colossal waste of taxpayer money" and said that rather than a boon, attracting hikers to the trail system would prove "an economic drain" to towns that might be called on to provide rescue services."

Apparently, 8 of the 100 miles of the MMM Trail in Massachusetts are on Cowls' land. Even with moving the trail eastward onto Quabbin Reservoir property, avoiding Cowls' property, Jones argues that the connecting trails on her property are still affected and barr Cowls from future development.

My argument for Ms. Jones is this: do a study of the 220px-Ragged_Mountain_CTtowns through which a major trail either runs or is in close proximity to, and you'll find that there's an economic boost to those towns from the hikers who hike those trails. When hikers stop to visit these towns, they stop & spend money for resupply or to stay a day or two. They put money into the town. That needs to be weighed against the costs which have been used in past rescue operations. It's not surprising to me that someone who's the president of a sawmill & land company, and one more interested in depleting our trees & vanishing landscapes, would oppose this legislation for protecting the trail.

Nice job on the parts of every politician, journalist, trail-builder, trail-maintainer, hiker & everyone who's been a supporter of this bill being passed! Yes, we need more trails protected from encroachment of builders & corporate America. Congrats to all who've had a hand in this effort! Here's a short clip of Rep. Murphy speaking on the Triple M Trail.

For more info regarding the Triple M Trail & other sources, check out the links below.

~The Pilgrim.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Healthy Hiking Happiness

One of the best all-around aerobic activities that anyone can engage in is hiking. Yes, going to the gym and pushin' the pedals, trampin' the treadmill or strainin' on the stair-stepper will definitely burn off unwanted body fat and do your body good. But a gym can't compete with nature, in my opinion. Just off the top of my head, here's three benefits of hiking over indoor aerobic activity:

  1. Breathing crisp, fresh air is healthier than the intake of body-odor-sweat-laden gym air. Tastes better too! smile_wink
  2. Hiking stimulates & sharpens every physical sense.
  3. Increases brain function.

Check out this excerpt from author John McKinney:

From William Wordsworth's poetry to the Boy Scout hiking merit badge pamphlet, tramping through the countryside has long been considered a tonic for good health.

"Walk out the door and find good health. There is no fever that a 10-mile hike can't cure," suggests Garrison Keillor, the wry host of National Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion.

Millions of Americans who like to hike believe that hiking contributes to good physical and mental health. And yet, until recently, nearly all evidence offered for the benefits of taking a hike was anecdotal, and very little hiking-specific scientific research supported that belief.

In 2004, Austrian researchers announced the results of an intriguing study demonstrating that different types of hiking have different influences on the fats and sugars in the blood. For the study, one group hiked up a ski resort mountain in the Alps and descended by cable car, while the other group rode the cable car up and hiked down. After two months of hiking, the groups switched hiking programs and repeated the experiment.

As expected, hiking uphill proved to be a great workout and provided measurable health benefits. Unexpectedly, researchers from the Vorarlberg Institute for Vascular Investigation and Treatment discovered that hiking downhill also has unique benefits.

Both uphill and downhill hiking reduced LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Only hiking uphill reduced triglyceride levels. The study's surprise finding was that hiking downhill was nearly twice as effective as uphill hiking at removing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance. A second study of uphill/downhill hiking was conducted this summer, but results have yet to be announced.

Pretty interesting information. I always knew that hiking was great for the body, but Mr. McKinney breaks it down and shares info that I didn't know. For the rest of the article, go on over to Miller-McCune at .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bay Circuit Trail

Ok, I've lived most of my life in New England. I try to keep up on hiking trail info close by where I live. So, I feel pretty foolish when I come across a site that speaks of the Bay Circuit Trail, or BCT for short. No, I don't remember hearing or reading about this trail anywhere, that is until today. bctlogo150

Stretching from the Kingston Bay on the south to Plum Island on the north, the BCT covers 200 miles of trail through 34 towns. How could I have not heard of this? Then again, I did not hear of the wolf sighting & shooting in October of '08.

Here's a short excerpt from :

The Bay Circuit - An Original Bay State Concept: First proposed in 1929 as an outer "emerald necklace," linking parks, open spaces and waterways from Plum Island to Kingston Bay, the Bay Circuit idea - a precursor of today's national greenways movement - continues to take shape. Focused on a 200 mile corridor of 50 cities and towns, the Bay Circuit Trail connects the "jewels" of the "emerald necklace." Community by community, the dream of connecting more than 85 areas of protected land in a greenway around Boston is now becoming a reality.


At present, the entire trail isn't fully completed, and future meetings in selected towns are scheduled in 2009. Maps & guidebooks can be purchased from the Bay Circuit Alliance in Andover, MA. For more info click here.

Having grown up in this area, and knowing well many of the towns the BCT traverses, I think I know what to expect from walking this trail. Although much of it isn't difficult or the least bit challenging to someone who really enjoys hiking, still I'm excited to have finally learned about this local trail. Future days will find me scouting out and walking the BCT.

Here are some other links containing good info on the BCT below:

~The Pilgrim.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crude Book Review: Hunted By David Fletcher

A sense of utter despair sweeps over me. I begin to panic. What more can I do? Surely I've done enough? Everything has been against me on this expedition. This time, stuck in a hole in the sloping floor of the ramp, my best just has not been good enough. There are some situations that can never be won. But I'm never going to let go of my rope. I may have lost the battle. But I haven't lost my determination to hold onto my rope.

That's an excerpt from the book, Hunted: A True Story of Survival written by David Fletcher, and pretty much the heart of this incredible adventure. It's also my favorite passage from the book, as it truly defines the author's epic struggle.

In a nutshell, the book documents British climber David Fletcher's account of a solo expedition into the remote Hayes mountains of Alaska. When Fletcher mistakenly kills a grizzly bear cub, his adventure becomes one that can only be compared to that of Captain Ahab's battle with the great whale. The mother grizzly literally stalks Fletcher over the next several days in his pursuit to complete his goal, that of climbing Mount Hess. In the end, it's kill or be killed.

This book has easily become one of my all-time favorites. Any personal adventure story grabs my attention, but this one had me engaged from start to finish. It would even make a great movie. You've got climbing & a battle with a 1200 pound bear. Get this book!

~The Pilgrim.