Monday, March 2, 2009

Alphabet of Daily Life - G

G is for (Mount) Greylock...

The highest peak in Massachusetts is right in our backyard! Mount Greylock is 3,491 feet high at the summit. It got it's name because the peak is often locked in grey Aerial view of Mount Greylock, including the mudslide area.clouds or mist - a sight I often see as I drive to work in the mornings. (Photo at right is from the site.) On the right side of the mountain you can see a patch of treeless brown - this is the site of the Great Mudslide that happened there a few years ago during a particularly rainy season.

Someone I know has a large molded-vinyl topo relief map of Berkshire County, showing the height of Mount Greylock, the Taconic Mountains and the Berkshire Hills, as well as the depth of the valleys in between. In looking at the map, one really gets a sense of how the mountains protect the cities and towns below. This same feeling is evoked when standing atop the mountain and surveying the expansive view, especially if you use the available binoculars.

Appalachian Trail

If you've read Bill Bryson's humorous "A Walk in the Woods" (I listened to it as a book on CD from the library during my daily commute), you'll know that the Appalachian Trail wends across Mt. Greylock on it's way to Vermont and into Maine, where the trail ends. In the boShot of Bascom Lodge from the top of the War Memorial.ok, Bill and Katz (I think Katz was still with him at this point) stop to pick up a few supplies in Cheshire, and I know exactly where they were from Bill's description of local roads and buildings.

Greylock Ramble

For years, the town of Adams has sponsored an annual Greylock Ramble, designed to reunite the locals with their mountain, and to help visitors discover it. (Not sure if this event still takes place?) On Columbus Day, hundreds of hikers, including many families with children, slog up the slightly muddy (depending on the weather each year) Cheshire Harbor Trail to the peak and admire the breathtaking views. Various family members and I have made the trek in years past, and it was a fresh and new experience every year.

Bascom Lodge

A favorite feature of mine on the mountaintop is this rustic lodge, built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the late 1930s. It is beautiful - made of native schist stone and red spruce - with a large old fireplace in the main area and an aging screened porch full of picnic tables along the length of the back of the building.

I've stayed overnight at Bascom and the experience was charming and just a bit hippy-ish. In the dim evening light, someone was playing the guitar in front of the fire as we lounged in cabin-style chairs and rockers. Later, we had a hearty family-style meal in the large dining hall, with many friendly and talkative strangers. We slept in a spartan, but clean and comfortable, room, which I imagine is heaven to an Appalachian Trail hiker who's been roughing it out in the elements.

If I remember correctly, Bascom Lodge is currently in search of new caretakers.

March Cataract Falls

When my daughter was young, we hiked EVERYwhere in Berkshire County...she waThe War Memorial, a shape often used in local advertising.s such a trooper. (Sadly, she doesn't enjoy this anymore.) One of our day trips was to March Cataract Falls. We drove up the mountain and parked near the Sperry Road camping area. From there, it's a reasonable hike through a fairly flat wooded area with a floor of luscious green ferns that rustled against our feet as we walked - me with the backpack containing our picnic and her sashaying ahead of me with her pink Little Mermaid backpack and a walking stick. We ate lunch sitting on the rocks near the falls, and then had time to wade and splash and play a bit before heading back to the car.

War Memorial

Another feature on the top of the mountain is the 93' War Memorial. It's shape is often used in local advertising. I've never been up the many steps to the top of the memorial - I believe it's been under construction any time I've gone up there.

A favorite memory of mine is taking my daughter up to the summit one summer evening. We sat on the stone wall near the base of the Memorial, and listened to the Berkshire Highlanders bagpipe band play "Amazing Grace" as the sun set slowly behind them.



Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

That all sounds like some great hiking. Are mountain bikes allowed? Horses?

Are any of the trails winter friendly? I'll bet skijoring through them would be great!

Loveanewidea said...

Alaskan Dave-
I know mountain bikers like to ride the windy paved roads, but not sure if they go off on the dirt trails. And, I have seen horses on the trail before.

Also, definitely winter-friendly for the hardiest of folk (due to the elevation, weather and lack of facilities) - snowmobiling, snow shoeing, etc. Might I ask - what is skijoring???

Kelly said...

Hi! Just popped over to say I replied to your question about the expandable posts.

I love your iPod widget...I'm going to have to go check it out! And the TagCrowd...I'm in trouble!

Kelly said...

P.S. How did you add the little welcome message after "Leave your comment"? Neato!

Loveanewidea said...

Thanks for stopping by! I can tell I'll be learning tons of techie tips from your blog.

Good luck on the Grooveshark widget - I love that it lets us easily embed free full songs or playlists - the site isn't the most user-friendly, but once you get the hang of it, it's useable.

For the comments message, I'll do a Tech Tip post about that and let you know when it's posted.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Hmmm, just try to comment and got a hiccup in the system. Apologies if this comes through twice.

Skijoring is when you are on cross-country skis whilst being towed by one or two huskies. The dogs have a standard mushing harness and the tow line is attached to a waist belt you have. Loads of fun.

Arvay up in Fairbanks just started skijoring this season with her two huskies

and they are two very beautiful, happy huskies.

Loveanewidea said...

Alaskan Dave-
Aha - I just learned something new! Haven't witnessed any skijoring on Mt. Greylock - yet!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

love bryson....and really loved his a walk in the woods....

the alphabet is always a great blogging theme

been a while since I've been on greylock.....waaah

Loveanewidea said...

We haven't been up Greylock in a while either. The summit has been closed for the last 2 summers for much-need road repairs. I imagine they'll have some type of re-opening ceremony this summer when the work is completed...and perhaps we'll hear those bagpipers again...

Corey said...

I am the owner of the photograph of the Mount Greylock Ramble taken outside of Bascom Lodge and you do NOT have my permission to use it. Please take it down ASAP...

LoveANewIdea said...

Yikes...sorry, Corey...hope I deleted the correct photo! If not, just let me know. :)


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