Hiking/Walk DATE: 04/09/2016 - 04/09/2016
Trip/Event Location: Salisbury, CT
Trip Leader(s): Robert.L
Max # People: 12
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Fresh air – nature’s prescription for good health!! Those who have gotten to know me this past year know I’m committed to exploring my backyard – the Berkshires, Northern...
From the north (Mass Pike)
From the Massachusetts Turnpike, take exit 2 and follow signs for Stockbridge south to Great Barrington. From Great Barrington follow signs for routes 23/41 south towards Salisbury (you do not reach Salisbury proper). Mark your odometer at junction of Rt. 23 and Rt. 41 following Route 41 south for approximately 9.3 miles. The Undermountain Trail parking lot will be on right. It is an easily-missed, small, blue, oval "Undermountain Trail" sign marking the entrance to the parking lot.
From the south (Salisbury):
Mark odometer at junction Rt. 44 & Rt. 41 in Salisbury, Ct. Follow route 41 north for approximately 4 miles. The Undermountain Trail parking lot will be on left. It is an easily-missed, small, blue, oval "Undermountain Trail" sign marking the entrance to the parking lot.
On a week that started with SNOW and a weekend forecast that spelled nothing but gray skies and showers – and chilly temps - Saturday was a welcome turnabout. I rose at 6:30am and promptly put together my pack for the day and headed out. The skies were dark and overcast as I pit stopped to grab my morning coffee and make my way west to the trail head. The further west I went, the bluer the skies… and upon arrival at the trail head –I’d say I had overdressed for the day. The sky was clear - blue as blue can be - and nothing but pure sunshine. I peeled off a few layers and waited for my hiking mates. Greg arrived first, followed by Richard. We did introductions and made instant connections –today would be a fun hike.
The trail started flat, the forest was wide, the hardwoods were few and far between, and the undergrowth seemed non-existent. Shortly into the hike the grade started to pitch up and from that point forward we were on a steady and healthy ascent. I had promised a “break in those boots” hike so we kept a moderate pace. Hiking in on the Undermountain trail, we soon connected with the Paradise Lane Trail – a brilliant and quite beautiful stretch of the hike. The trail was relatively modest in grade with a brook crossing and decaying little bridge that for a moment, had me pause, but Richard braved it and all was good. This trail was 1.8 miles of casual hiking as we moved north and circled Bear Mountain.
Upon intersecting with the AT, we broke for snacks and fueled up for the short, but steep ascent to the summit. Along the way we encountered a charming couple who told us of some modest upcoming ice but not nearly enough to warrant microspikes. On my way up I bumped into a gentleman who was solo hiking, he was here on business from Ohio and had a day to spare – good for him for seeking out the great outdoors. We ascended to the summit where we enjoyed lunch and lovely views of Northern Connecticut and Eastern New York. I believe the lake we see in the distance is Riga Lake.
We shared the summit with many folks that day, it seemed we were looping opposite everyone else and the summit was where we all aggregated. There was a group of students and hiking leaders who were prepping lunch. They were from ISAAC – The Interdistrict School for Arts and Communications out of New London, CT. The leaders had started an outdoor adventure group – and to that we say – CHEERS! Many a dog came to sniff as we lunched and many passed along the way. Alas… it was time to begin the descent.
The path continued at the summit for a short distance, offering small plateaus from which you could skip off the trail to catch a view – all very nice. Shortly before the steep descent we bumped into two through hikers. One of the gentlemen had started in Virginia and was making his way up to Maine – to tag the end of the trail and….. GO BACK…he intends to trek North to South before winter sets in – Good luck to him – he was in great spirits (and I somewhat envious of his journey).
We quickly reached the intersection of the AT, Bear Mountain Road Trail and the Undermountain Trail and guess what… Rob wasn’t quite feeling he’d exerted quite enough energy yet… remember those short trail departures in the description? Yep – a quick poll of the group and we headed north west along Bear Mountain Road to check out the rentable AMC cabin. The trail was flat, well marked and it was only 1 mile in the distance. In short order we arrived and it was everything I’d imagined it would be. I snapped a few photos and we quickly left so as to not disturb the occupants. Sumer is not here yet and I’m already planning next winter!! I LOVE winter and I did my best to share the luxuries of winter hiking with Greg and Richard.
We retraced our steps, continued along the Undermountain trail and found our way back at the cars. We started at 10am and finished in the vicinity of 3:15/30pm. We climbed to 2,316 feet, hiked approximately 8 miles and made new friends today – how much better can life be? In my book – this is the best.
We finished the day with an early afternoon dinner and drinks at Mizzi’s in Lakeville, CT. We cheered to a day of great fun and good conversation. Cheers Mates – See you on the trails!!
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Rob, thanks for leading the hike. The side trip to the AMC cabin was well worth it. It was an idyllic setting. - richardc