Friday, August 5, 2016
After crossing over Southwick St/Rt 57, I started hearing distance gunshots. As I hiked, it got progressively louder, until it was loud enough I was concerned for my safety and proximity to live ammunition. I checked on my phone after I started feeling scared and saw that it was the Agawam Revolver Club, not some random people shooting off guns in the woods. Despite that assurance, I still felt unsafe hiking while it sounded like guns were being fired a hundred yards away. I would highly suggest signs be posted at the beginning and end of this portion, noting the proximity of the firing range. Additionally, perhaps adding some reminders signs along the trail nearest to the firing range.
The trail was relatively easy to follow until I got to the Springfield Underground Reservoir. The blazes there were scarce and I walked back and forth along a section of trail until I determined that I should, indeed, walk past the big sign on the gate arm saying “No trespassing,” despite no blazes being visible beyond the gate. I then wandered through the fields, trying to follow the trail based on where grass/plants were more beaten back or walked on. I eventually found my way to where the trail reentered the woods.
Not too long after that, the trail heads down towards the Westfield River, where it parallels it for a time. I missed the trail split here, as the blazes indicated a right hand turn of the trail and the wide, packed dirt trail turned to the right. I followed it for a few tenths of a mile before using my GPS and realizing this trail couldn’t be the M-M because it should be turning to cross over the river and it wasn’t. I went back to the trail split and tried unsuccessfully to find the trail. So I began following the river bank, figuring I’d see blazes eventually. After a few dozen yards, I saw white blazes close to the bank and rejoined the trail. However, this section of the trail was severely overgrown with prickers and large leafy plants between waist and head height so the going was very slow. Thankfully, this portion of the trail was small; I came to the place where the trail crosses the river and waded across. The water was fairly high (knee deep) compared with the last time I saw it (ankle deep) since there’d been rain recently. I arrived at Westfield St by 12pm and met my shuttle there for a ride back to my car.