At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock is the highest peak in Massachusetts.
Visitors can drive to the top on the 11-mile-long scenic byway that
bisects the Mount Greylock State Reservation north to south and/or they
can reach the summit on foot via some of the 50 miles of trail in the park.
We did both during our Appalachian Trail Adventure in 2005 (see Days
104 and 105 in that journal). Going northbound, I ended a 23-mile day by
hiking up the mountain from the south end of the park and met Jim at the
top. We drove down the road to our campground in N. Adams. The next
morning we drove back up to the summit and I ran/hiked down the mountain
to the north end of the park and beyond while doing a 25-mile section of the Trail.
View of distant mountains from
Mount Greylock on a sunnier day than today (8-11-05)
Those two days were mostly sunny. I can still remember the distant views to
the Green, White, and Adirondack mountains from the broad summit and how
fascinated I was with the sub-alpine environment in the upper half of Greylock.
I wanted to experience that again on this trip.
That's how we ended up camping again at the Historic Valley
Campground in North Adams, MA. We stayed there one or two nights in 2005
because it was convenient for accessing the A.T. It worked well for us
again this time.
HISTORIC VALLEY CAMPGROUND
Yesterday we had a short, scenic 51-mile drive on US 7 and MA 8
through western Massachusetts from Prospect Lake CG in North Egremont to
Historic Valley CG in North Adams.
Fortunately, we were able to get into our new pull-through site much
Historic Valley than Jim expected.
Because of the problems we had at the last place, we first walked the
loop we had to drive with the camper to reach our site to be sure there
were no obstacles.
We like our large,
shaded site. We're on dirt again but
no rain is predicted this weekend. The site has 30 amps electricity,
water, and sewer for $35/night. There are no discounts other than the
monthly rate of $700 for a full hookup site.
This campground has about 100 sites. About half are occupied by seasonal
campers with nicer RVs than those at Prospect Lake. The campground is
80% full this weekend but the two sites closest to us are vacant, which
Casey had fun retrieving the ball but she's still
learning the best way to jump off the end of a pier.
Campers enjoy swimming and boating in Windsor Lake.
This seems like a pleasant place to spend the summer -- pretty
lake, lots of activities, beautiful wooded sites, friendly folks. It's
similar in some ways to Prospect Lake but we feel more comfortable here.
TO THE SUMMIT OF GREYLOCK ON THE A.T.
There are several
trails hikers can use to reach the
summit of Mount Greylock. They vary in distance, difficulty, and direction.
After studying the trail maps we got at the visitor center a few days
ago I decided to hike the A.T. again. The Trail roughly parallels the
scenic byway from south to north through the park and is about the same
distance (11-12 miles). It crosses the road near the summit but
isn't close to it on either side of the mountain.
Map of Mount Greylock State Reservation; my route
on the AT is in yellow.
I re-read my
journal entries from the '05 run/hike and was reminded of all the roots, rocks, and
elevation gain and loss on the A.T. on this mountain.
Since I can't run any more and I'm not in as good condition as I was
nine years ago, we came up with a good plan that would allow Jim to ride
his bike on the scenic byway and I could hike up the mountain for about
seven miles with Casey.
This morning we drove down to the town of Adams on US 8A and 8, then
followed country roads to Outlook Ave., where the A.T. crosses. There
isn't a trailhead parking area at this location but since it's a little
road Jim just pulled over to the side while I put on my pack and got ready to
hike with Casey.
The A.T. goes alongside a couple of fields in the first half mile north
of this trailhead.
I followed the A.T. northbound for seven miles. The elevation ranged from
about 1,300 feet to just under 3,500 feet and there was more descent
on the way up than I remembered.
There were more #!&*%$ rocks, roots, and mud than I remembered, too!
Some parts of the A.T. were fairly smooth (L) and
some were very rocky (R).
Meanwhile, Jim drove the truck to the summit of Mt. Greylock, paid the
$4 non-resident fee to park it there, and rode his bike down the scenic byway
on the north side of the mountain to N. Adams and our campground.
Lots of folks rode their bikes UP the road, then back down. Jim didn't
want to do the ascent but he did get plenty of uphill riding on the way
back down to the campground.
When I got done hiking I found the truck at the summit and drove it
home. Our plan worked well.
Above and below: interesting boulders and
rock formations I didn't have to climb over
I started hiking about 8:30 AM and finished about 12:30 PM.
I stopped to give Casey water and treats about every 45 minutes. Even
though we crossed two all-weather creeks and several dry creeks that were wet today,
Casey hasn't learned to drink much water from streams. She's getting
better at drinking from the plastic folding bowls I carry for her.
I did better than I thought I would with the elevation gain, especially
considering how many rocks and ledges I had to climb over.
There were also many
muddy places because of all the recent rain in the area:
Some wet areas had bog boards.
Most of the boards were in good condition (next photo) but some were
rounded, canted, mossy, or falling apart:
On the way up the mountain Casey and I met four runners and day hikers going
downhill. A mile from the summit a male thru-hiker from Germany came up
Since Casey is so exuberant when seeing other people on the trail I kept
her on the leash most of the time. That works well uphill but not so
well going down rocky or slick sections of trail.
In the last mile closer to the summit I saw about 20 day hikers. Casey
pulled and wanted to greet everyone except the last two women we saw
near the top. She sat quietly to the side (finally!) and one woman
commented, "What a good dog!" I about choked, remembering all
the pulling she did all morning!!
Casey patiently waits
while I take her picture.
When we reached the little alpine pond about 1/2 mile from the summit I
let Casey get in the water to swim. It was hard to keep her out.
There were some people in the cabin across the water; the trail curves
around to the left and goes near it but I didn't go down to it since the people
were still there.
When we came out on the summit near Bascom Lodge I could smell
hamburgers grilling. I don't eat burgers very often but they sure
smelled good after hiking for four hours!
I couldn't go in with Casey. As we walked toward the parking area we
went close to the impressive Massachusetts War
Memorial tower that dominates the center of the broad summit of the
I wanted to climb up the steps inside the tower but it's closed for a
couple of years for renovations. Phooey. Jim went into it in '05 while I
was hiking but I was too tired at the end of that day to go in.
It was cool enough in the truck to leave Casey there while I wandered
around the summit for 15-20 minutes. The temperature at 3,491 feet
was in the low 60s F. and there was some wind. I was comfortable hiking all
morning in shorts and short sleeves.
I went into Bascom Lodge for the first time. It's roomy but cozy and offers
burgers, sandwiches, salads, and soup during the summer months. I had
enough food to eat in the truck so I didn't buy anything.
I wandered around the north and east sides of the broad summit to look down
into the valley surrounding the small town of Adams.
The skies were
overcast enough that I couldn't get the views to the Green, White, and
Adirondack mountains that visitors can see on clear days.
Despite the wind and clouds, about a hundred people were walking around the summit.
I noticed some of them were watching a man getting ready to run off the
edge with his para-glider. I stopped to watch for a few minutes --
very cool to see him glide back and forth in front of us:
Soaring like a bird above the town of Adams
Jim was already back at the camper when I got there early in the
It was fun comparing notes about our separate treks. Jim rode 15+ miles on his bike and I had 7+ miles of hiking.
Next entry: cycling the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
in the Northern Berkshires
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil