Two weeks ago, Debbie Livingston established a new loop route that started in Bolton Notch. It connects the East Coast Greenway with the Cheney Rail Trail, and the Hop River Trail. This loop is now possible because of the expansion of the ECG (Charter Oak Greenway) paved path from Manchester to Bolton Notch, and because of the improvements on the Cheney Rail Trail in Manchester. The Hop River State Park Trail is the oldest section and it goes from Manchester, through Vernon, to Bolton. It extends past the Notch through Andover, Columbia, and to Willimantic where it connects with the Air Line Trail. There are many more route possibilities using these three trails and the various other networks that intersect.
This is a great loop. When Debbie established this route two weeks ago, I had started the run with her, but wasn't feeling it and pulled the plug. I went back the next day and scouted it (via bicycle) with our son Shepard. I returned today to run it hard. There are many local runners that have superior "road" leg speed that should take this time down substantially. Now they have a target to aim for. These trails, in particular the Hop, are incredibly popular with the Connecticut running community. By the time I finished up, the regulars were already out there. I was happy to avoid the traffic with my early morning start.