I recently climbed the tallest mountain in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — Mount Greylock. Elevation wise, relative to what I’m used to, Greylock is but a hill. (Massachusetts isn’t known for its firmament piercing massifs). To wit, it comes in at a mere 3,491 feet, falling short of good ‘ol Noonmark by 65 feet. Still, I have learned (the hard way) not to underestimate a mountain because it is small. Incidentally, the four “fraudulent” 46ers, which are under 4,000 feet, are among the most challenging mountains I have yet climbed.
Man and man’s best friend, village of Adams yonder.
If Greylock is small in stature, it is only on account of its height. A lot of 19th Century literary muscle held such reverence for it. The anecdote goes — Herman Melville got the idea for Moby Dick because from his home the mountain’s profile resembled a great sperm whale. Nathaniel Hawthorne frequently visited Greylock and Thoreau went so far as to climb it (you had to have been an intrepid sort to have done anything bigger back then).
Contrary to popular belief, Greylock is not a part of the Berkshires, the neighboring range to the east which is most readily associated with the Commonwealth. Rather, Greylock is a part of the Taconic range, which straddles the eastern border of New York and the western borders of Connecticut, Massachusetts and even Vermont. From my location of Saratoga Springs, New York, Greylock is actually closer than many of the High Peaks. Remarkable considering the drive spanned three states. Access of the mountain didn’t entail the use of a highway or major thoroughfare. The drive involved many turns; I had to jot down the multitude of small road numbers on a scrap of paper.
Cheshire Harbor Trail, the route I took.
There’s a network of trails to the top of Greylock. I couldn’t decide which one to take. I would have liked to do the Greylock in the Round loop but I got a late start. I chose the quickest and easiest route to the summit, the Cheshire Harbor Trail. Compared to what I am accustomed to, this was an easy non-hike. The elevation gain was very gradual and there was nary a ledge. Fallen leaves littered the trail. So much for my hope to catch Massachusetts at peak foliage. The promised “bluebird” day was overcast, drab and particularly cold (and windy) at the summit.
AT crossing the highway which girdles Greylock.
Sleepy shack on spooky lake. Taken from off the short stretch of AT before the summit.
Right before the summit, .75 miles to be exact, the Cheshire Harbor Trail met up with the fabled Appalachian Trail for the final leg to the summit. This is the third segment of the AT I have hiked. Can I say I have hiked the AT yet? It is solely an issue of semantics.
Neat three-dimensional topographical map of Greylock.
Tower atop Greylock.
Greylock is said to boast one of the best views “in the east.” Those who made the claim must not get out much. The principal view is looking to the east, overlooking the town of Adams. Mount Monadnock, in southern New Hampshire, is one of the noticeable bumps out on the horizon. I thought I would be able to glimpse Moosilauke in The Whites but I couldn’t see any of them. The ‘Daks, on the other hand, were indiscernible in the midst of a mantle of clouds — but visible or typically visible. The neat thing about Greylock is that you can see 5 states from the summit. It has a highly developed summit, which is accessible by car. It is more on the order of Prospect than Whiteface. Greylock is worth a look, but not the order of spectacular one takes for granted in the Adirondacks or Whites.
This shelter was open and heated. A nice temporary reprieve from the bitter late-autumn cold.
Adirondack High Peaks representin’. Surprised Killington is not visible from Greylock.
The AT descending the northern side of Greylock. If I continue, maybe I can reach Katahdin by January?
Looking to the South. Cheshire Reservoir nearest water.