I chose to do the slightly shorter West branch to establish this as a route, and in preparation for the E2E2E which will include both branches. My GPS track is slightly shorter than indicated by the CFPA map, but this is consistent with what Scott and Debbie Livingston found on the East branch.
Nipmuck has been on my radar for a couple of years (since I returned to ultrarunning). Like everyone else, races cancelled = time for other adventures. I decided to establish the west branch route to complement Scott and Debbie's east branch route. The ultimate plan is E2E2E (but not today).
I started the day with about 1000 calories for breakfast about 2 hours before starting the run at about 6am. I loaded 2 bottles of Gatorade into my softflasks and put my empty BeFree 0.6L in my pack along with about 2500 calories (pbj, reeses, strawberry newtons and a few gels). I finished the gatorade after about 90 minutes then switched to food and water. The BeFree is awesome and there is a ton of water on the Nipmuck trail. As long as I could reach the water, I could fill and go in 15-30 seconds. There was only one time where I ran low north of Boston Hollow. Also, I think maybe I lost one bag of food on the trail because I never did find it. I think I consumed about 1700 during the run.
The first 20ish miles were fairly easy going as I kept moving pretty well without overreaching. Once I started the climb out of Boston Hollow, things started to get pretty ugly. I ran low of water, the climbs keep coming, and it seemed endless before I finally dropped into two pipes and was able to get more water. I doubled my feeding here and dug out of the hole. Once I got through to Bigelow Hollow, I couldn't remember how far it was to the state line. I was thinking 4 or 5 miles, but fortunately it was more like 3.5.
I sat down at the concrete marker at the end of the trail for a few minutes and texted my wife for a ride, then I started the 3.5 hike/jog out to the road. I was hoping to do this in 7-ish hours, so was pleased to see 6:29 when I finished. Scott recommended do this southbound, and I will probably go back and try that too. Generally I think it is better to do the runable sections when fresh, but it will be interesting to compare. Right now I have no interest in the E2E2E; that just sounds stupid. Ask me next week though:)