Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trail Review: Mt. Greylock State Reservation

Now without further ado, here is my review of our most recent hike!

Trail Specifics (from AMC's Best Backpacking in New England)

Highlights: The highest Mountain in Massachusetts
Distance: 11.0 miles round trip
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,050
Trip Length: 1-2 Days
Difficulty: 3 Stars
Recommended Map: AMC Northern Berkshires Map, AMC Books

We drove up to Massachusetts on Friday evening, and arrived at the trail head at approximately 11:00 pm. Now I do not recommend this, because walking the trail to try to find the camping area in the dark is not a good idea. Mr.B had been under the impression that the camping area was directly at the head of the trail, when it's actually about 0.3 miles from the parking area. Left with the choice of sleeping in the car, or braving the trail in the dark however, we decided to try to walk the 0.3 miles and wound up confused and scared in the dark. We wound up sleeping in a really nice field:

Unbeknown to us at the time, it turns out we were not at the actual camping area, and while we were in a nice open area, if we had slept a bit later we would have been right next to a day hiking trail that is highly used, and we left this awful impression in the field:

That kink aside, we started the next day fresh and early. We actually lost our topographic map somewhere between the car and where we camped, but it wasn't an issue as the trail was extremely well marked. I also highly recommend the hiking book we have (mentioned above), as any time we were slightly confused about which way the trail went, we were able to follow the excellent descriptions in the book.

As the book recommends this is a 1-2 day hike, and while we chose to camp out on the trail overnight, we both agreed that we definitely could have completed the trail in one day, especially if we didn't have our big packs. This was actually my first hike with my big back pack, and I will admit it took some getting used to. The mountains had many side trails that we could have taken and explored as well.

Mr.B and I both agreed that this was a very enjoyable trail, and it wasn't too strenuous. My only complaint about this trail would be that you cross a few roads, because it's possible to drive to the top, so it's not as secluded as it could be. It's also a little crowded at parts for this reason, but even though this is my biggest complaint, it was really a small issue and didn't affect our hike much at all.

Here are some great shots we got at the top of the mountain:

Monument at the top:

We camped the second night at the Pecks Brook Shelter, which was about a mile detour off the trail, and is located on a very nice water source. The actual shelter was actually occupied, however there were plenty of flat spots around for camping. We were one of 5 groups camping at the site, but it didn't feel to over crowded. One of the groups that was at the sight was a family of 5, the parents had decided to try out their first hiking trip with a 4, 2, and 1 year old in tow. While the father seems much more optimistic and less cranky then the mother, we were both impressed and relieved to see that life doesn't stop after you have kids!

When we go on a backpacking camping trip, we usually stop in at one of our favorite camping stores, Campmor in Paramus, NJ, for some dried food. On our menu for the evening was Pad Thai and Veggie Lasagna. Basically you boil water and pour it into these lite, very easy to carry, zip lock packages, let them steep for 10 minutes, and wallah:

Instant dinner! While it may not look appetizing, it was actually delicious! I'm thinking of buying them for home to save time on dinner! Just kidding, they are a little pricey but we think worth it for backpacking. For breakfast we used the same type of food, and had granola with blueberries and milk with broccoli and cheese potatoes.

This hike was beautiful, fun, and very do-able for even inexperienced hikers. The level in the book was a 3 star, but we thought the difficulty level was really low. I know that we're becoming more experienced hikers, so perhaps our views are a little jaded, but I really think this hike is assessable for almost anyone. Especially if you're looking for a day hike on any of the smaller trails the mountain has to offer. We had a great weekend on Mount Greylock! I'll leave you with some of my nature photos from the hike, hope this encourages all of you to get out at hit the trails! SB :)

Detour to Hopper Falls:

Pretty Butterfly (yes I actually took this photo, and yes I'm impressed with myself):

What do you call a mushroom that buys everyone a round of drinks? A FUN-GI!

Lake with old pump house (good marker to know you're back on track after returning to trail from Peck's Shelter):

1 comment:

Stacie said...

Thanks for the comments on my blog! I'm actually going to be posting about Philippa Gregory in a few minutes :-) Let me know if you have any other favorite authors though, I'd love to hear about it!