Review: Connecticut Walk Book East

Connecticut Walk Book, EastIf you are looking for a good guide to the trails of Eastern Connecticut, you should get yourself a copy of the Connecticut Walk Book East.  This book covers just about every trail in the region and gives you accurate trail descriptions and maps to make your trip planning easier and more enjoyable. 

While I don't hike all that often in Connecticut, the eastern portion of the state isn't that far from where I used to live in Massachusetts and I did find myself at times in the area, so I thought it would be a good idea to pick up a copy of the Connecticut Walk Book East for myself.  I'm glad I did.  It gives quite a lot of detail about a number of trail systems that I had no idea even existed and has given me the opportunity to take a number of walks that I would never otherwise even known about.

Another thing that is cool is that the Walk Book focuses on the "Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails" that are maintained by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association.  This association works with public and private landowners to maintain these trails, which in some places are quite extensive.  They do a lot of work and I don't know of too many other places where private landowners have been persuaded to allow hiking trails over portions of their property like this, so they deserve some thanks for that too.


What you get in the Walk Book

The CT Walk Book East is broken down into different sections by trail network.  They cover just about the entire eastern half of the state (think of Hartford and eastward).  This includes trails such as the Metacomet Trail, which is a fairly long distance trail.  There are also several other trail networks that allow for some fairly long distance walking.

Each section starts out with an introduction to the trail network system, its history and its location.  That's followed by individual sections that call out the hikes on each of the trail networks.  There you'll get a more detailed look at each walk.  Each section opens with the location, length, where it is on the map and the direction you'll be walking.  Then the description tells you how to reach the trailhead and that's followed by a detailed description of the walk itself.  At the end of each hike, the mileage is broken down by landmark in a table.

Throughout each section are highlighted areas that provide interesting information about the area and or specific areas you will be walking through.  I find these really useful since you'll get a good idea about the areas you are walking through, from their natural to their human histories.  There are also black and white photographs throughout illustrating places along the trails.

At the end of each section, there are a number of maps that cover all the trails that are described.  These are fairly detailed maps that are very easy to read.  I was impressed with their quality and I have found them to be really indispensable.

The Walk Book itself

One interesting thing about the CT Walk Book East is how it's made.  This is not your normal bound book.  Instead it comes in a small, book-sized 3-ring binder.  I'm not sure exactly why this is done, though I suppose it reduces the cost of making the book.  I haven't ever seen updates to buy to replace outdated sections, but I suppose that could also work.  However, that said, I actually find that I like this because I can remove the pages when I go for a hike and only take what I need.  Or I can pop them out, copy them and put them back, which is much easier than trying to copy pages from a bound book.

Experiences

I've used the CT Walk Book East a number of times when I've been in the area and wanted to go for a walk, most often around the casinos in southeastern Connecticut (you can only gamble so long...).  The book has made it easy to find trails and plan walking trips.  The book provides an accurate description of the trip and their instructions of finding the trailheads make getting to them easy.

Final Thoughts

I'm glad I picked up a copy of the Connecticut Walk Book East.  It has turned out to be a great guide to the trails of Eastern Connecticut.  



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