Mark and I had been living in the “foothills of the Berkshires” for almost two months, barely noticing those geography defining Berkshire Mountains. Sure, each time we drive from our house sit to the town of Kent to run errands, our ears pop and we don’t need any fuel to reach the bottom of the road, but the cold weather, sometimes gray, sometimes snowy had not allowed us to walk up to any viewpoints during our weekend outings with the dogs. When the sun set, I could often spot what I thought to be a purple hued hill top in the distance, through the barren trees around the house. I wanted to stand on top of one of those hills…
That was anticipated last weekend, when Mark and I decided to hike Macedonia Brook State Park in earnest. Previously, we had strolled along one of the old logging roads there, but this time, we set out on the white trail, easily reachable from one of the parking areas. Based on a map we “memorized” at home, we parked in the third lot counting from the southern entrance and immediately started on the easy stretch towards the old road. We kept the dogs on leash through the forest here, since it was quite busy on this sunny Saturday. Another .2 mile stroll on the orange/white road brought us to the start of Cobble Mountain Trail. The tough part would soon begin.
We followed the white markers, painted on trees, and started the climb zigzagging up the mountain. The dogs charged ahead, showing us the way, while we had our hands free to help with the ascend. The path was quite slippery, but rock ledges and tree roots helped out when necessary. After an hour or so, we reached a split. The blue trail kept going up over a rocky face, the white one led back down the mountain. The four of us joined the blue trail to reach a windy viewpoint from where we had a good look over the Berkshires. It had certainly be worth the climb.
Based on the map, we were supposed to follow the ridge line for a bit (blue trail) to another viewpoint, before reaching the green trail back to the old road (orange trail), so we could make a loop back to the car. Since we couldn’t quite figure out the exact direction of the blue trail on top of Cobble Mountain, and we had noticed that the white trail went down a different way, we descended, following new white markers on trees and rocks. All the while, we were confused about this white route, which appeared to be a loop as well. What went wrong? Which part was not on the map? Little Mickey was a good sport again, jumping down massive rocks, ears flapping in the pleasant mountain air and Henry was happy as a deer in the woods. It was a slippery track, with moss and a thick carpet of leaves covering up the rocks and the steep slope. We were glad to have come up the other way.
Towards the end/the beginning of the white trail, our little mystery was solved. Unbeknownst to us, we had veered off the main trail, and stepped over some tree trunks on the ground, presumably put in place to block that section of the trail. I guess the dogs knew about this alternative way up the mountain. 🙂 The white markers had still been in place, so we didn’t know any better. We assume we followed an old hiking trail to the top and took the “right” one back down. It made for a more interesting and diverse walk this way – I love circular trials better than going the same way in and out. Next, we want to hike the full length of the blue trail, encompassing all of Macedonia Brook State Park. We might have to wait until spring for that, though, or at least until all our tired muscles, feet and paws are rested.
(This post is submitted to Jo’s Monday Walk)