Monday, August 2, 2021

Gunn Brook Falls


Sure wasn't easy finding this place. Took me two trips before I located it. If there had been chairs (and no mosquitoes!), I could have sat and listened to the sound of the falls for hours.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Julius Lester Trail


Julius Lester was an author, musician, civil rights activist and university professor. The trail, named in his honor, runs along the Mill River (below)

Friday, July 30, 2021

Summit House II


Just a couple more views from inside Mount Holyoke's Summit House. The first (above) is a view from one of the guest bedroom windows. The second is of the skylight in the house's interior. But check out the turn of the last century fire extinguisher in the foreground!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Summit House

"In 1821, an 18-by-24-foot (5.5 by 7.3 m) guest cabin was built on Mount Holyoke by a local committee—one of the first New England summit houses. The property changed hands several times between 1821 and 1851 when it was bought and rebuilt as a two-story, eight-room hotel. Local entrepreneurs John and Frances French were the primary owners; between 1851 and 1900, the hotel and property were subject to a number of upgrades and related construction projects including a covered tramway to the summit of the mountain (first drawn by horse, then mechanized), a railroad from the base of the mountain to a steamboat dock on the Connecticut River, and the construction of a number of outbuildings and trails. With passenger steamship to the connecting summit railway established, the Mount Holyoke 'Prospect House' became a popular tourist destination. The steamship would pick up guests at the Smiths Ferry railroad station across the Connecticut River in what was then Northampton, ferry them to a tramway leading to the Half Way House. From there guests could take a steep (600 feet long, rising 365 feet) covered inclined tram to the summit. The track for this tram was first laid in 1867 and the system electrified in 1926. Competing establishments were soon built on Mount Tom and Mount Nonotuck across the Connecticut River, and on Sugarloaf Mountain and Mount Toby to the north. The Prospect House property passed hands again in the early 1900s, to chain hotelier Joseph Allen Skinner, who eventually donated the hotel and property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a state park in 1939 on the condition that the park be named after him (now the J.A. Skinner State Park)." -- www.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021



A couple of views from Mount Holyoke's summit looking west (above) and southwest (below) across the Connecticut River.

Monday, July 26, 2021



The declines near the trail were in some cases steep. Watch your step!

I commend whoever is responsible for these signs. Having dealt with some poorly maintained trails elsewhere recently, I can appreciate the effort that went into posting these.

Another trail companion.

Sunday, July 25, 2021



I've climbed Mount Holyoke several times now, but never from this direction. The views were splendid!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Holyoke Range

"The ridge of the Holyoke Range was formed 200 million years ago during the late Triassic and early Jurassic periods and is composed of traprock, also known as basalt, an extrusive volcanic rock. Basalt is a dark colored rock, but the iron within it weathers to a rusty brown when exposed to the air, lending the ledges a distinct reddish appearance.

Basalt frequently breaks into octagonal and pentagonal columns, creating a unique 'postpile' appearance. Huge slopes made of fractured basalt talus are visible beneath many of the ledges; they are particularly visible along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail on Bare Mountain. The basalt ridges are the product of several massive lava flows hundreds of feet deep that welled up in faults created by the rifting apart of North America from Eurasia and Africa. These basalt floods of lava happened over a period of 20 million years." -- Wikipedia

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pioneer Valley


This section of the New England Scenic Trail affords hikers several wonderful panoramic views of the Pioneer Valley below and the Berkshire mountains beyond. Hey! And when you get done hiking,  the Valley even offers some delicious locally grown food. :-)