Monday, July 24, 2017

MA Appalachian Trail - Section 2 - Mount Greylock to Mark Noepel Lean-To

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
7/23/2017 6.6 miles

Map: Appalachian Trail Guide to Massachusetts-Connecticut
Parking: Rockwell Road (more southern parking lot)
Directions: Hike north to Mount Greylock summit. Return to parking area. Hike south to Mark Noepel Lean-To. Return to parking area.

July and August are always difficult for hiking. We lucked out today, with the forecast around 78. We drove up Rockwell Road, passing the visitor center. We tried to do this hike last winter, but the road was blocked off at the visitor center. This is a long road! It's around 7 miles from the visitor center to the parking area, and its slow driving. There are 2 parking areas off Rockwell Road, and we tried the upper lot first. There were 3 cars parked there, and it was really very tight. I didn't want to try to squeeze in, because I've had my car damaged before when trying to park in tight areas like this. We drove back down to the lower lot. It's still not big, but had more space than the upper lot. Parking is free in both of these lots. If you drive to the summit, there is also parking there, $5 I think.
We did the hike to the summit first, since it was the steeper portion of the hike, and we wanted to do it while we had fresh legs. We did fine. I remember doing this hike several years ago, and it felt hard. This time it felt moderate. So, despite hip problems, I still seem to be in better shape than I was a decade ago. I kept Trek on leash all day today, because there were just a lot of people. And dogs. The tower wasn't open at the summit, but it looks like will have a "re-opening" this Wednesday. Too bad. I think last time we weren't able to go up either. This is a state high point, though not our first time there. I didn't see a summit marker. We saw a couple of sky divers at the top, just talking with people. We walked around Bascom Lodge, but didn't go inside. We saw a lot of people eating snacks inside. One interesting point. It was around 79 degrees in town. When we started our hike from the parking lot, it was cool. 66 degrees! It was humid, but still, 66 degrees in July - I'll take it! The elevation makes a difference.

We headed back down towards our car. We saw a lot of people struggling with the climb up, and tried to encourage them. After we reached our parking area, we continued southbound. After that point, we saw far fewer people. The people we did see all looked like thru or section hikers. It's a very pretty area. We read that it is a sub-alpine region. There were some shorter evergreens, which I guess would be considered krummholz. It smelled lovely. There was a lot of puncheon on this hike (boards you walk on). I was really impressed with a lot of them. It sounds funny. But some of them were extremely nice - solid thick slabs cut from trees, as opposed to dimensional lumber. We hiked to the shelter, and then turned around and headed back to our car. My hip was sore from the hike, so I guess we didn't go too fast. I'm heading back to the doctor this week, as my psoas injection doesn't seem to have cured me.

Looks like we have 1 more hike to finish MA. We're hoping to do this as a weekend backpacking trip sometime.

Sign at our parking area

Love this little cabin, I remember it from the last time we hiked here

3D model of the trails in the area.

Bascom Lodge

View from the summit

We were wondering if this was the Saddle Ball Mountain summit. There was a small cairn here.

There were signs at the shelter about frequent bear activity

Lots of puncheon on this hike.

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