Mark Twain Hostel, Hartford CT
After a wonderful night of sharing travel stories, loads of laughter and lots of good food, I slept like a baby and left Laurie and Jim fully replenished in every way. Had to be one of the best nights on the trail so far. Thanks guys!
When I left, I was able to hop right back on the ECG and made my way across the rest of Manchester on the city's bikeways. They took me by streams, baseball fields, freeways and through Manchester Community College, where by the way, the ECG cue sheet directions fell apart. This portion is in need of serious update. For example, there is no longer a dirt path that is part of he ECG, it's now asphalt and the EGC is marked to send you away from it through a loop in old pine trees anyway. (If you do follow the dirt path one does run across like I did, it takes you out and leaves you at the backside of the athletic fields.) Throughout here, posted markers are in conflict with markers on the sidewalk, so head's up. (Seems to have a lot of new roads/construction through here).
Actually today was the worst day so far for head-scratching at directions and markers. Later on in East Hartford, the ECG takes you by the Huskies Stadium and Capela's, the primo outfitter, (didn't even go in but sure did salivate all the time it was in sight!). Here someone had painted over, or covered with tar, the triangular ECG pavement marks and replaced them with Appalachian Trail (AT) white blazes! I spent some time trying to figure out what that was about lol.
I followed the alternative river walk to cross Founder's bridge and would recommend it. Nice walk. Then, after crossing the Connecticut River, the directions fall apart again. For example there is the, "behind arced building" direction that fails to note there are 3 arced buidings right next to each other. There are many kinds of directions/instructions like this and my only suggestion is, in the future, write these directions so a 5 year old (folks like me:) can not make too many mistakes. Err on the side of too much description :)
Then, through no fault of the cue sheet writer, the trail tried to go through a closed off construction area and I found myself chatting with construction workers on catwalks. lol
Eventually found my way to Bushnell Park and there, finally gave up trying to follow the ECG. Again the sheets seemed to be written by someone who knows the area well and thus takes for granted the reader is familiar with the landmarks referenced, not realizing there are many possible errors for unfamiliar eyes to make, (ie "the statue"........which of 3 statues would that be?). Especially through the park descriptions need to be a tad more detailed.
Once I gave up trying to find my way, I was free to enjoy the park, which is lovely and well used. It was here I was suprised by another Great Blue Heron, which flew up and down the pond here, and so close over my head I could almost touch it! What is it with these Blue Herons on this trip!?! :)
After enjoying the park and people in it for a bit, I pulled out my map and plotted a course to the Mark Twain Hostel which took me by both Harriet Beecher Stowe's house and museum as well as Mark Twain's house and museum. It was getting late in the afternoon by now and I was tired and dirty, so I opted to save a visit to these 2 places until another time.
Had no trouble finding the hostel, which reminds me more of places I stayed along the AT than of the hostels in France and Spain along the El Camino. I got in before it started to rain and that makes me happy.
Tomorrow I will try to make it to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail near Simsbury. It's not that far, but I may get a late start depending on the weather. They are calling for possible rain until 10 am.
See you tomorrow All!
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