By Jayne Glennon
Road construction is finally here! You know, the fourth season -- almost winter, winter and just passed winter being the other three. Craig and I left Billerica at noon, picked up Route 2 West and arrived in North Adams at three. We sat in road construction traffic for a half hour near Fitchburg and the other two and a half hours were spent driving across this wide state. It was a beautiful day to drive west through river valleys and over tree covered hills that become mountains. It has been many years since I rounded the hairpin turn that spins you into North Adams but little has changed. My sister lived there for a short time and so long ago that I remember Sprague Electric Company occupying the complex of brick buildings near the Hoosic River. Now the brick buildings are MASS MoCA, a museum of contemporary art and ever changing gallery of giant sized and installation art residing in a maze of large enclosed spaces connected by tunnel ramps and open stairwells. Suspended boulders, upside-down trees and an Airstream trailer that appears to have dropped onto a catwalk from out of the heavens, are some items viewable on the grounds of the property. I particularly enjoyed three floors of Sol Lewitt giant, geometric, colorful wall drawings on view until 2033. Not a typo - 2033.
A curvy 8-mile road with at least three hairpin turns, brought us to the summit of Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, the next morning. A $2 parking fee allowed us parking in a large, nearly full, lot at the summit. A wedding was disbursing from in front of the Veteran's War Memorial/Beacon Light when we arrived. People in formal clothing mingled with hikers and picnicing families. Beautiful, stone walled Bascom Lodge faces south from the summit, is open to the public and offers some food and lodging. Many trails crisscross Mt. Greylock including a piece of the Appalachian Trail. We headed to the Overlook Trail beginning near the lodge. Downhill we hiked along roots and rocks exposed by rivers of melting snow and rain. On this day dry, the Overlook Trail runs down the mountain for about 3/4 of a mile then turns left and skirts along the side of the mountain before turning left again and onto to steeper Hopper Trail to return to the summit. The trails were difficult and gave me a sore neck from looking down for foot placement with every step! Craig and I hiked over two hours to complete the 3-mile loop. We had earned our summit picnic on an open slope looking east. Mt. Monadnock could easily be seen and beyond that Mount Sunapee. Fabulous views of the Berkshires were all around.
- Date: June 21, 2014 (road to summit is open seasonally)
- Distance: 3.6 difficult miles
- Weather: Fair weather clouds, 75 degrees in North Adams, 59 degrees at summit of Greylock
- Fee: $2 parking fee at summit of Greylock; $18 each admission to MASS MoCA
- Pets: Permitted on Mt. Greylock on leash
- What I liked about this walk: MASS MoCA was so big we probably put on a couple of miles walking among the interesting works of art and old mill buildings. The views from the summit of Mt. Greylock were fantastic. Great place to picnic. Many trails
- What I didn't like about this walk: Be aware that there are not many easy trails on Mt. Greylock. We chose what seemed to be among the easier trails and it was a lot of work for us.