An overnight backpacking adventure \u2014 with the added comfort of cell service and a quick ride back home\u2014 are a few of the benefits of traversing the roughly 13-mile Paugussett Trail, also known as the \u201cBlue Dot\u201d Trail, from Shelton to Monroe. Just ask the City\u2019s Natural Resources Manager, Teresa Gallagher, who recently hiked and camped overnight at Webb Mountain Park, documenting it all for a Shelton Trails Committee blog. \u201cThere really are no other distance trails that I know of in Fairfield County where you can legally camp,\u201d Gallagher said. \u201cIt\u2019s perfect if you want to ease in to backpacking and you come across a lot of the terrains you would encounter up north.\u201d There are few things you need before setting out, including a $10 permit to camp at Webb Mountain from Monroe Parks and Recreation. Camping is open through Nov. 1. Trails maps are also a must. Updated maps of the Shelton sections of the trail are available from SheltonConservation.org and Monroe sections can be found in the Connecticut Walk Book. MonroeRec.org has a map of Webb Mountain available. Gallagher is familiar with the various sections of the trail but had never before camped out or done the entire stretch at once. She likened the hike to a \u201cstrand of pearls\u201d on her blog, \u201cbecause some parts of this type of trail include road walks or portions that would not be a destination hike on their own, but which give you a connection to prime hiking areas (the "pearls").\u201d Gallagher started the journey at the Buddington Road trailhead in Shelton and headed north through Shelton Lakes, where the trail passes through Eklund Garden and follows the shoreline of Hope Lake, crosses Route 108, and joins the wide gravel Recreation Path. Along the way, Gallagher found items marking the area\u2019s history, including a quartz arrowhead on a Shelton section of trail. \u201cQuartz arrowheads on trails are not uncommon,\u201d she said. \u201cThe Native Americans in this part of the country used quartz because we didn\u2019t have flint.\u201d \u201cThe Paugussett turns sharply off of the Rec Path, and the turn is easy to miss if you're not paying attention to the blazes,\u201d Gallagher writes in her blog. \u201cYou'll need to be able to follow the trail blazes carefully and be prepared in case a blaze is missing or a part of the trail is blocked, because that can happen on any long distance trail. Have a map, and perhaps a gps unit or a smartphone. For beginners, this is a good trail to practice your blaze-finding skills because you can't get truly lost in this area.\u201d The trail leads to Indian Well State Park, where Gallagher notes backpackers can also choose start the journey. Just past Indian Well, the trail starts to resemble sections of the Appalachian Trail up north, according to Gallagher. There is a bit of scrambling over rocky sections and a hiking stick is recommended. \u201cI did the Connecticut section of the Appalachian trail and the section of Paugusett through Indian Well and Birchbank is rugged and rocky \u2014\u00a0it\u2019s a lot like the trails up north,\u201d Gallagher said. When hikers reach the Birchbank Mountain overlook, stop to sign in at the trail register and have fun reading the other entries. From there, it\u2019s a mostly downhill journey to Webb Mountain, a total of about 9 miles on the route Gallagher took. Once at Webb Mountain, Gallagher writes that \u201cto reach the main part of the campground from the Paugussett, you'll need to take a detour onto an unmarked trail that follows a brook going upstream, with the path becoming orange-blazed. Cross a bridge and continue straight on the red trail and the camp will be right there,\u201d she said. \u201cThis is simpler than it sounds and it's not far at all.\u201d Gallagher said to keep your camping permit handy as park rangers come to check. \u201cFacilities at the campground include a port-o-let, picnic tables, fire rings. And there was free firewood as well,\u201d she wrote \u201cThere is a nearby stream if you have water-filtering capabilities or need to wash up.\u201d After setting up camp, a short walk up the Red Trail to Goat Rock is a must, according to Gallagher, who writes it is the is the best overlook of the entire hike. After a peaceful night and morning, they continued the hike to the end the end of the trail \u2014\u00a0mile 12.9 \u2014 at East Village Road. A quick walk to the intersection of East Village and Barn Hill Road is a good spot to have a ride pick you up to head back home. \u00a0 Gallagher suggests backpackers avoid the hike if it\u2019s too wet. She notes some areas would have been more hazardous if it was too wet. Overall, the trail is the perfect short backpacking trip for a beginners or someone testing out their camping plans. \u201cIt\u2019s a great way to work out the kinks if you\u2019re planning a longer trip,\u201d she said. \u201cYou have the cell phone coverage and you\u2019re close enough to home that, if you hate it, you can just call for a ride.\u201d For more on the trail, links to maps and more information, click here for Gallagher\u2019s blog.