Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flag Rock, Housatonic

Off of Rte 183, on the west side of Mounument Mountain in Great Barrington, is an easy trail up to a great view of the village of Housatonic and beyond. This morning was my first time up there in the winter. With the new snow and sunshine, the day was perfect for this snowshoe of about two and a half hours. The woods were peaceful and quiet with a few chickadees singing here and there.

From the rock, you look out on Housatonic with Tom Ball Mountain beyond.
I found the play of the shadows on the trail decidedly cheerful.
We loved the bright sunshine.
What a great hike!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jug End Reservation, Egremont

My first snowshoe this year!

Sunday morning the snow was about 8-12 inches deep with only a very light crust. The snow plower was just finishing clearing the parking area at Jug End when I arrived so I was first on the trail that morning. Although the sky was grey, the temperature was in the mid-30s making it very comfortable and enjoyable.

The trail was covered with pristine new snow.
I wondered what animal tracks I would see.
First, I saw lots of deer tracks.
This was awesome! It looks to me like a coyote was chasing a squirrel.
With such long strides, they must have been moving very fast.

And I saw where the squirrel tracks ended. The coyote had a snack.
And I, too, left tracks in the woods.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jug End Road, Sheffield

Because I had a car accident two weeks ago and broke a few ribs and cracked my sternum, I am looking for easier walks. Luckily, the Berkshires have many dirt roads and little-used roads that are wonderful for easy walking. I have been going with a friend; we gab the whole way and and don't even have to think about our footing like you would on a trail.

Actually, the first two weeks in December I stay off the trails anyway, because there are so many deer hunters in the woods for shotgun season. We did hear distant shots but I felt safe on the road.

This week we walked three miles on Jug End Road in Sheffield from the Appalachian Trail crossing to Route 41 and back. The sunshine, the views, the fresh air are healing! I expect to be back on the trail soon.

Inquisitive and friendly animals along the roadside.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The High Line, NYC

A few weeks ago, two friends and I took MetroNorth from Wassaic, New York, (about 1 hour from my house) into New York City. Our destination was the High Line, an elevated freight rail line that has been repurposed into a wonderful one-mile-long thoughtfully designed and landscaped park with an additional half-mile still under construction. Artwork, viewpoints and public spaces enhance the park.

It is incredibly popular both day and evening and is open year round. In fact, a local told me that it can be almost gridlock trying to walk it on nice-weather weekends. The neighborhood, Chelsea and the Meat Packing District, is experiencing a building boom and transformation because of this park. I'd like to return in the spring and summer for the blooming plants, many of which are native species.

We walked a mile in the heart of NYC without stopping for one single car!
We pondered the art along the way.
Native plantings, including trees, flowers and grasses, made a relaxing setting.
Only a few late-season flowers remained.
More artwork along the way. 
Elevators provide access for families with carriages and those with disabilities. 
Here, you are looking at the Statue of Liberty way out in the harbor.
Here are bleacher-like steps and a glassed in view of 10th Avenue.
The elevated views were incredible!