My most recent hikes, or at least those I thought it worthwhile to post about, have been on the New York Appalachian Trail. These outings took me to a point about halfway between the Hudson River and the New Jersey line. At one time or another, I have trodden the 130 or so miles north from that point to a spot ten AT miles inside Massachusetts from Connecticut. Last weekend, I decided to extend my AT coverage farther north rather than south. There were two main reasons for this: (1) I like the long, scenic drive up routes 7, 112, and 41 (a great opportunity to catch up on podcasts too); and (2) the next Massachusetts section was low-level and without steep gradients. We’d had some mild weather the preceding week, but I knew there’d be ice still in places where the sun don’t shine on higher and rougher sections of AT, and repeatedly putting on and taking off spikes is a pain.
DATE: Saturday, March 13th.
START & FINISH: Where the AT crosses Jug End Road, Egremont, MA (GPS 42.144443, -73.431467).
ROUTE: AT “north” (actually east) to Housatonic River bridge on Kellogg Road, Sheffield; retrace steps back to start.
DISTANCE: About 11 miles.
TIME: 5 hours (9am to 2pm).
TERRAIN: Fairly flat, with elevation always in the 650-900 feet range; dry trail, though with a few icy stretches; more than the usual frequency of bog bridges and boardwalk.
MAP: National Geographic AT Topographic Map Guide 1509.
WEATHER: Sunny, cool (low 40s), and windy out of the woods.
- On the edge of some woods, I heard a small, out-of-place sound, maybe a stick crunching. I peered toward where it had come from and at first saw nothing, but then spied a dark coyote trotting off through the trees.
- Not much later, I came to a small, half-frozen pond. It wasn’t very pretty and I wasn’t looking at it when I heard a splash. I assumed the splash was a dog taking a dip. I looked for the dog but instead saw a beaver swimming in the melted half of the pond. Whether in response to me or not, the beaver again slapped the water’s surface with its tail. I believe this is beaver for “buzz off!’ so it may indeed have been directed at me.
BREAKFAST: Coffee and bagel (with swiss cheese) from JP Gifford in Kent, consumed in the car and at the trailhead.
LUNCH: A cheese sandwich, standing in the woods somewhere.
UPS: See WILDLIFE
DOWNS: Not really a down but, depending on exposure to the wind or shelter from it, I was repeatedly too cold or too warm.
KIT: I carried spikes but the stretches of icy trail were never long enough to justify the effort of putting them on.
COMPANY: Most memorable was a Boy Scout group that I passed on both my out- and back-leg. As you might expect, they—boys and adult leaders—were amiable and observed COVID protocols.
THE HIKE IN PICTURES: