Saturday, June 3, 2017

MA Appalachian Trail - Sections 6-7 - Baldy Mountain to Jerusalem Road / Fernside Road

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
6/3/2017 9.8 miles

Map and Guide: Appalachian Trail Guide to Massachusetts-Connecticut

Parking: Jerusalem Road, 2-3 spaces roadside.

Directions: Hike southbound (same side of street as parking area) to Jerusalem/Fernside Road (a gravel road). Return to parking area. Hike northbound to Baldy Mountain summit. Return to parking area

We headed off to Massachusetts today, dogless. I'm paranoid about Trek's lump, so we left him at home. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. I didn't take the time to study our map before our trip. Glen finally downloaded the Guthook app on his phone, so he can always see where we are on the AT too. We were planning on doing a section from Jerusalem/Fernside Road to South Wilcox Shelter and back. This was a section of the AT we need to do, listed on our blog. That was the extent of my research. We ended up parking on Jerusalem Road, and headed into a meadow of cows. We were headed south (based on a compass check) but were actually going northbound on the AT. I figured out shortly after we started that we were going the wrong way. So we turned around and went the other way. After we were a couple miles in, we saw a sign which showed the mileage to the South Wilcox Shelter. What? It was much further away than expected. Oh dear. Where the hell were we? We checked the mileage, and knew we couldn't do a 17 mile hike based on our start time and the number of daylight hours we had remaining. It turns out the trail crosses Jerusalem Road twice. One time it is called Jerusalem Road, and another time on our map, it's call Jerusalem / Fernside Road. On our Guthook app, the second intersection is only called Fernside Road. So we started at the wrong parking area. Duh. No wonder things were not matching up. We were supposed to have a 1,000' elevation gain in the beginning, and the hill we climbed seemed too easy. It WAS. Because we were hiking up Tyringham Cobble. The good news, is that we were still hiking on a section of the MA AT that we haven't done. So it wasn't a big loss. We decided to continue to Fernside / Jerusalem Road and then turn around and head back to our car. It was still very early, so we headed northbound and climbed to the summit of Baldy Mountain. We were hoping for views (based on the mountain name), but there were none. We figured it was at least good to get the 1,000 foot climb up Baldy out of the way. We returned down back to our car.

We had beautiful sunny skies today, which is always nice. Not too hot yet. I really enjoy hiking in the Berkshires, and today didn't disappoint. Things we liked about today's hike....I saw pink lady slippers again. Our packs felt featherweight after backpacking last weekend. We had nice farm and mountain views. Hiking through meadows (I'm a closet meadow bagger). Ferns. Hiking with cows. Walking on pine needles (very gentle on your feet). Much less mud than Vermont. Things we didn't like...basically the only thing was the bugs. After our Vermont trip last weekend, Glen bought a head net. He was so excited to use it and he said it worked great. We also had ticks today. I guess that is the downside of the meadows. I flicked off a few ticks off my clothes.

I didn't bring enough food today, and I was having a queasy stomach for some reason. I need to remember to bring one more bar than needed, just in case. Today I decided to start out with only 1 liter of water, but also bring a filter and a 2 liter dirty water bag. This worked out well. It was great not to be carrying 2 liters of water, like I usually do. At some point I did stop and filled up my 2 liter bag (which was overkill, I didn't need 2 more liters). Then at the summit of Mt. Baldy we stopped and I worked on filtering some of my 2 liters. I'm trying to learn how to carry less weight, so this is something I'm going to start doing (filtering water on hikes rather than carrying everything I need). It does require additional planning to make sure I know where the water sources are.

Starting out going the wrong way.

Ugh...realizing that there are still 6.3 miles to our turnaround point, and we've started at the wrong parking area.

A wetlands area with pink flowers and many irises. More colorful in person.

This reminds me of NJ.

Blurry, but more pink lady slippers today. We've seen so many this year.

Rock wall just before the summit of Baldy Mountain.

A picnic table plus an AT farm stand next to the trail, on Jerusalem Road.

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