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  1. #21
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    I'm planning on doing about 20-25 miles this weekend starting in NW Conn heading north. My friend is going to be taking care of the exact route and logistics, but I'm curious to know if anyone has an idea of what the conditions are on the ground at this point. Is there any snowpack and if so how much? I suspect there is going to be some drastic changes this week with the warmer temps and rain that's headed that way, but whatever info I could get about the present conditions would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #22
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    Last Saturday, I hiked from Rt 23 to Main Rd. in Tryingham, the trail has a snow pack of 8-18" north of Wilcox until the decent into Tryingham valley. South of Wilcox it is bare. Last week I hiked from Barrington, Holmes Rd to Tom Lenard Shelter and there was some snow pack, but should be much less now. The weather forecast this week is for warm and some rain which will reduce the snow pack but not too much. 60 Degrees today. Last time I was on Bear Mt. the south side was clear, but the north side still had a lot of hard Ice, that was about 2 wks ago. Sages Ravine will still have considerable snow and ice. Where the trail/ground is bare it is quite dry. Ticks are out, so do a good tick check.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migrating Bird View Post
    Last Saturday, I hiked from Rt 23 to Main Rd. in Tryingham, the trail has a snow pack of 8-18" north of Wilcox until the decent into Tryingham valley. South of Wilcox it is bare. Last week I hiked from Barrington, Holmes Rd to Tom Lenard Shelter and there was some snow pack, but should be much less now. The weather forecast this week is for warm and some rain which will reduce the snow pack but not too much. 60 Degrees today. Last time I was on Bear Mt. the south side was clear, but the north side still had a lot of hard Ice, that was about 2 wks ago. Sages Ravine will still have considerable snow and ice. Where the trail/ground is bare it is quite dry. Ticks are out, so do a good tick check.

    Thanks for the detailed response! I asked a tick question in one of the other threads as well, and you ended up covering that for me also. I didn't realize there was still a decent amount of snow to contend with, but I'm glad I asked.

  4. #24

    Smile

    First, thank you all for the great information already provided. It's so valuable to a newbie like me.

    Secondly, I was wondering if someone could help me with information about the MA section, which I'm planning to do later this month. The trickiest part of my planning so far has been the beginning and end: where to park initially when northbound, and then how to get back to my car from Williamstown or North Adams?

    Here's my itinerary so far:
    1502.9 CT-MA border --> 1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter (6.90 miles)
    1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter --> 1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter (14.30 miles)
    1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter --> 1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North (7.10 miles)
    1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North --> 1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin (14.00 miles)
    1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin --> 1554 October Mountain Shelter (8.80 miles)
    1554 October Mountain Shelter --> 1565.8 Dalton, MA (11.80 miles)
    1565.8 Dalton, MA 1579.7 --> Mark Noepel Shelter (13.90 miles)
    1579.7 Mark Noepel Shelter --> 1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter (6.60 miles)
    1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter --> 1597.5 MA-VT border & back to town (11.20 miles)

    What do you all think? Two likely changes might be East Mountain Retreat Center instead of Tom Leonard, and Bascom Lodge instead of Mark Noepel.

    Hope you'll bear with two other questions:
    1. What's the people traffic like in MA late May (especially in light of Memorial Day)?
    2. What's the bug traffic like in MA late May? What's my biggest nuisance this time of year: mosquitoes, ticks, flies, or...?

    Thanks again.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeconiah View Post
    First, thank you all for the great information already provided. It's so valuable to a newbie like me.

    Secondly, I was wondering if someone could help me with information about the MA section, which I'm planning to do later this month. The trickiest part of my planning so far has been the beginning and end: where to park initially when northbound, and then how to get back to my car from Williamstown or North Adams?

    Here's my itinerary so far:
    1502.9 CT-MA border --> 1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter (6.90 miles)
    1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter --> 1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter (14.30 miles)
    1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter --> 1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North (7.10 miles)
    1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North --> 1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin (14.00 miles)
    1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin --> 1554 October Mountain Shelter (8.80 miles)
    1554 October Mountain Shelter --> 1565.8 Dalton, MA (11.80 miles)
    1565.8 Dalton, MA 1579.7 --> Mark Noepel Shelter (13.90 miles)
    1579.7 Mark Noepel Shelter --> 1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter (6.60 miles)
    1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter --> 1597.5 MA-VT border & back to town (11.20 miles)

    What do you all think? Two likely changes might be East Mountain Retreat Center instead of Tom Leonard, and Bascom Lodge instead of Mark Noepel.

    Hope you'll bear with two other questions:
    1. What's the people traffic like in MA late May (especially in light of Memorial Day)?
    2. What's the bug traffic like in MA late May? What's my biggest nuisance this time of year: mosquitoes, ticks, flies, or...?

    Thanks again.
    I had a great overnight stay at Bascom Lodge, the food was awesome.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  6. #26

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    Jeconiah

    Seems like a reasonable schedule, you may find that the short days get a little boring, you may want to stretch to the next overnight stop once you get familiar with the terrain. Dalton to Nopel will be a challenging day. Take your time, it's a nice section. You could always stop at St Marys in Cheshire after the first 10mi and go on to Wilbur the next day.

    Parking: At the North end, park at the Greylock Community Club on Rt 2 in North Adams. They charge a small fee, but it's very convenient and pretty safe. You'll need to backtrack if you are determined to get to the MA/VT border (but it's a nice section of trail, worth seeing twice...).
    Use the Undermountain Trail in CT to access the AT at the south end, or maybe better for a new hiker, the Race Brook Falls Trail a few miles further north. Both are steep, but your first day will be shorter into Glen Brook. You have a lot of climbing that day regardless--don't get discouraged.

    What are your dates? Goose Pond Cabin will not be open until May 18th, water will be cold, but take a dip to rinse off. Bascom Lodge is open only on weekends from May 18th until sometime in June (they have contractors working on projects there). Water is on now, so you can refill.

    Water sources should be running fine, 'tho we are a little low on rain this spring.

    You will find popular campsites busy on Memorial Day weekend, especially around Greylock.
    Tom Leonard may be busy on Mem Day. There is a resident porky. Don't be friendly. There is a baseball bat.

    Blackflies are pretty active, but not too bloodthirsty. Got a few bites yesterday. They are annoying, just don't let them ruin your day. Stay relaxed and keep moving. A headnet may make breaks a bit more enjoyable. I usually wear long sleeved polypro until mid June, just push up the sleeves when you get sweaty. Skeeters are just coming out, but is may stay cool enough at night to keep them quiet. You won't even notice the ticks, but check nightly.

    I'd skip the East Mtn Retreat. It's a mile road walk from the trail, you won't need a shower that badly.

    The Birdcage in Dalton is closed. Tom Levardi is still taking in hikers. His house is on the AT in Dalton, shortly after you cross the RR tracks.

    Cosmo

    Quote Originally Posted by jeconiah View Post
    First, thank you all for the great information already provided. It's so valuable to a newbie like me.

    Secondly, I was wondering if someone could help me with information about the MA section, which I'm planning to do later this month. The trickiest part of my planning so far has been the beginning and end: where to park initially when northbound, and then how to get back to my car from Williamstown or North Adams?

    Here's my itinerary so far:
    1502.9 CT-MA border --> 1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter (6.90 miles)
    1509.8 Glen Brook Shelter --> 1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter (14.30 miles)
    1524.1 Tom Leonard Shelter --> 1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North (7.10 miles)
    1531.2 Mt. Wilcox North --> 1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin (14.00 miles)
    1545.2 Upper Goose Pond Cabin --> 1554 October Mountain Shelter (8.80 miles)
    1554 October Mountain Shelter --> 1565.8 Dalton, MA (11.80 miles)
    1565.8 Dalton, MA 1579.7 --> Mark Noepel Shelter (13.90 miles)
    1579.7 Mark Noepel Shelter --> 1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter (6.60 miles)
    1586.3 Wilbur Clearing Shelter --> 1597.5 MA-VT border & back to town (11.20 miles)

    What do you all think? Two likely changes might be East Mountain Retreat Center instead of Tom Leonard, and Bascom Lodge instead of Mark Noepel.

    Hope you'll bear with two other questions:
    1. What's the people traffic like in MA late May (especially in light of Memorial Day)?
    2. What's the bug traffic like in MA late May? What's my biggest nuisance this time of year: mosquitoes, ticks, flies, or...?

    Thanks again.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo View Post
    Jeconiah
    Parking: At the North end, park at the Greylock Community Club on Rt 2 in North Adams. They charge a small fee, but it's very convenient and pretty safe. You'll need to backtrack if you are determined to get to the MA/VT border (but it's a nice section of trail, worth seeing twice...).
    Use the Undermountain Trail in CT to access the AT at the south end, or maybe better for a new hiker, the Race Brook Falls Trail a few miles further north. Both are steep, but your first day will be shorter into Glen Brook. You have a lot of climbing that day regardless--don't get discouraged.
    http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/trails/mwashington.pdf

    Take a look at this map - we just had a small group doing a day hike last Saturday, and we started onto the AT just South of Sages Ravine by entering via the trail seen as small dots at the far bottom of this map. There were several spots along the end of the road to park - saw no signs about parking (ie limiting length of parking). It is a bit harder to get to this trail access (the last section of road is dirt and there is a limit of ways to access it) but it makes for less hiking (avoids having to go over Bear Mtn or start at Race and backtrack to get to the border).

    Also a note that you'll see there are two shelters where you plan to stop the 1st night, very close to each other. The Hemlocks is a newer (and larger) shelter with the loft (which you'll see several of in MA) and is also a bit closer to the trail - might be worth checking it first for availability. And I'll agree the climb the first day is a lot - particularly the (mile wise) short section from Race Brook to the top of Everett.

    For the North end (depepnding on how you are parking/picking up etc.) - there is a cut off trail (Pine Cobble) about a mile from the VT border which comes back into Williamstown (into a housing area). You'd have to get back from there to the Community Club, but an option if you want a route with less backtrack on trail. There is a small parking spot there, but probably not for any long term use.

    Bug wise - seemed to be quite a few out this past weekend. Also to note that the foliage wasn't out much yet at the higher points (you could actually see the green decreasing from the valley up to the top at the overlooks), but also there are several spots (particularly that first section up to Jug End, but also further north, particularly on Greylock) with exposed stretches where it can get warm on a bright, sunny day.

  8. #28

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    Very helpful, thank you both Cosmo and Billy! It looks like I might miss Bascom Lodge by a day, unless the itinerary changes again. Dates aren't 100%, but I think I'll be fine for Goose Pond Cabin.

    I will probably try your recommendation re: parking, Billy. I've heard Bear Mountain is great, but I am not that experienced and sort of feeling like the extra mileage is going to kill me. So if I can start super close to a) the trail and b) the border, I'll be happy—for whatever reason, I really have in my head that I want to do the whole MA section, even if it means a little extra up front and a little backtracking at the end (to Williamstown or North Adams, haven't decided which yet). I think my plan is to then hitchhike back down to my car at the CT/MA border. I've hitched before and really enjoyed it, and hoping in light of the AT that this'll be a pretty ride-friendly area.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeconiah View Post
    I've heard Bear Mountain is great, but I am not that experienced and sort of feeling like the extra mileage is going to kill me. So if I can start super close to a) the trail and b) the border...
    If I were leaving my car for a length of time I would probably leave it at the trail-head parking lot for the Undermountain Trail. If you wish to avoid the climb up and over Bear Mountain you can take the UnderMountain Trail to the Paradise Lane Trail which skirts around the east side of Bear Mountain and joins the AT north of Bear Mountain, just before the descent into Sages Ravine.
    ~~
    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
    NOBO 3-18-09 - 9-27-09
    blog.allenf.com
    allen@allenf.com
    www.allenf.com

  10. #30
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    You can start in Salisbury, CT and end at VT 9. It adds a few extra miles but at least it is a one way trip. In June you can expect lots of bugs!

  11. #31
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    Seems like a wealth of knowledge on the Mass portion here, so I thought I would drop a question and revive this old thread. I'm looking to hike the MA portion over a bunch weekends through the summer and have questions about overnight parking at undermoutnain trailhead and race brook falls trailhead. I was thinking a good first weekend would be:

    Day 1: Undermountain Trailhead => Bear Mountain => Laurel Ridge Shelter
    Day 2: Laurel Ridge => Race Brook Falls Trailhead

    Anyone have any thoughts about the hike? (Or about when we expect the trails to thaw after all this snow?)

  12. #32
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    Hopefully someone who has been on it more recently will comment with current conditions, but I would be careful tackling the north face of Bear Mountain. It doesn't get the sun on it and will be icy for quite some time. You can bypass it (since you are heading in to MA anyway) by taking the first right on the Undermountain trail onto Paradise lane trail, which connects to AT just past Bear Mountain.

  13. #33

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    Your itinerary sounds quite reasonable. Parking at either location will not be a problem if you can get there early on the weekends. Race Brook, in particular can get a bit crowded. As to when conditions will be snow free, probably well into April, if not May before it's all gone, you may encounter icy patches well into May in shady areas. We are getting slow melting now, but it's pretty deep up there this year.

    Cosmo


    Quote Originally Posted by SurfinBirdman View Post
    Seems like a wealth of knowledge on the Mass portion here, so I thought I would drop a question and revive this old thread. I'm looking to hike the MA portion over a bunch weekends through the summer and have questions about overnight parking at undermoutnain trailhead and race brook falls trailhead. I was thinking a good first weekend would be:

    Day 1: Undermountain Trailhead => Bear Mountain => Laurel Ridge Shelter
    Day 2: Laurel Ridge => Race Brook Falls Trailhead

    Anyone have any thoughts about the hike? (Or about when we expect the trails to thaw after all this snow?)

  14. #34
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    Thanks Cosmo & Just Tom,

    That's great advice! I've been watching the snow melt slowly here by Boston and fingers crossed will decently melted and a little warmer, mid-late april.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

  15. #35
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    If the completion of the thaw is questionable when you head out, I suggest you bring the microspikes.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfinBirdman View Post
    Day 1: Undermountain Trailhead => Bear Mountain => Laurel Ridge Shelter
    Day 2: Laurel Ridge => Race Brook Falls Trailhead
    Unless something has changed quite recently, Laurel Ridge is a Campsite. There is no shelter there, or anywhere else on the route you're considering.

    Have fun,

    --Peter

  17. #37
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    thanks, thats my typo, was planning on tenting it anyways

  18. #38

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    Parking at Undermountain or Race Brook Falls is pretty safe, I have not heard of any problems nor have experienced any before.

    Right now there is still a considerable snowpack in that area of CT/MA. Probably won't be a full thaw in the forests for several weeks on northern exposure trail, southern exposure will be clear by the end of next week or so.

  19. #39

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    I like starting that hike at the parking area on Rte 41 North of Salisbury, CT and ending it on Vermont rte 9 near Bennington. Gives you a few miles of CT and VT and stays one way on the AT as opposed to hiking in to Sages Ravine and up to the Mass/Vermont border and back to North Adams. This is my favorite 10 to 12 day hike. I'm old and slow.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by xokie View Post
    I like starting that hike at the parking area on Rte 41 North of Salisbury, CT and ending it on Vermont rte 9 near Bennington. Gives you a few miles of CT and VT and stays one way on the AT as opposed to hiking in to Sages Ravine and up to the Mass/Vermont border and back to North Adams. This is my favorite 10 to 12 day hike. I'm old and slow.
    That sounds like a great hike! I look forward to when I can ever get more than 4 or 5 days off in a row to do a trip of that duration.

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