Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hiking - Taconic Crest Trail

Today, I joined an ADK and Taconic Hiking Club hike on the Taconic Crest Trail south of Hancock, MA. The trail follows a high ridgetop along the NY/MA border for about 35 miles. If a hiker completes all sections of the trail in winter, a very nice patch is awarded.

Although I received this patch a year or two ago, some friends are still working toward it, and it's a very nice place to hike relatively close to home.

Hiking a section of this trail first requires pre-positioning a car at the day's end point, driving everybody to the beginning point, and then a long steady climb up from the valley below, to about 2,000 feet above sea level. Despite green and brown fields in the valley, we found a few inches of powdery snow at that higher elevation, giving us our first taste of local winter since a freak October snowstorm.

We soon reached Berry Pond, in the Pittsfield State Forest. As the sign says, this is the highest natural body of water in the state of Massachusetts, at 2,150 feet. There are picnic tables and campsites here, and it's a popular place in warmer weather.

Just north of Berry Pond, there's a wide open view to the west, stretching from the Catskills on the left around to the valley we'd left below.

Rain was expected later in the day, but this was a very strong group, and we finished the 6.8 miles by early afternoon, despite considerable ups and downs. Conditions were great, and so was the company, and we all enjoyed a nice wintry day outside.

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