Mass 100 highest
With the Government closed down I had some time on my hands. Al B is working on the 100 highest peaks in Massachusetts and I've never been one to turned down a couple of days hiking to ANY peaks.
On Monday we met up at the Park and Ride and reached western MA by 8am. We bagged 7 peaks on the first day. Most were in the town of Mt Washington although our fist peak was in Egremont.
We hit Mt Fray (1,909') via the Catamount ski area (just over the border in Hillsdale NY). The day was very humid and temps were comfortable (mid-60s). It was buggy on the ski slopes as we ascended from 930' to the top of the ski area and onward to a radio tower. From there we bushwhacked a bit and then picked up the trail. There were some descent views from the top but it was cloudy and even a little drizzle. We returned the way we came after checking a few other bumps along the way.
Our second peak of the day was Prospect hill (1,959'), we approached from West St/Sunset Road and stopped at the last house in MA and asked about parking and hiking up to the top. The owner said "No" but told us that the S Taconic trail would take us to the top and we just needed to go down the road a bit. Cool! We parked at the TH (1,700') and hiked up. Nice views, quick stop and down we went. More peaks to bag!
We continued south on West st. for peak #3 which was Mt Ethel (1,925'). We chatted with a couple who were walking their dogs and asked about any trails to the top. They said their were none they knew of but were willing to tell us about some "nice hikes in the area". We parked at the historic School house (1,720') and headed into some really nasty woods. Yikes, the mountain laurel was super-thick and the going was very slow. There was only one short part during the climb that wasn't too dense. It was very humid and we had a little rain fall during this as well...but nothing epic (not yet).
Mt Darby (2,025') was our fourth peak of the day, not much to say on this one. A quick jog up ( from 1,650') and down the dirt road to the radio towers and back down. No view. It was nice to stretch the legs with a bit of running especially after the tough bushwhack.
We zipped down East Street t Plantain pond road for our fifth peak. Mt Race (2,395') looked to be a long trek on the AT so we decided to try a bushwhack to the AT from the road. We found a trail at the road bend (1,780') that seemed to go in the right direction and figured why not! It turned out to be an easy 20 minutes to the AT and another 10 minutes to the summit. Definitely a much shorter route to the top.
From Plantain we headed south on East Street looking for a good parking spot and possible trail to the top of Mount Ashley (2,382'). We found a spot on the side of the road at one of the conservation area markers, but the pull-out (1,840') that looked like a trail was in fact no trail. This was a messy jumble of thick mountain laurel and it was raining now. Ugh. The top may have some nice views but we didn't see anything with the low clouds.
Our sixth and final climb of the day was also the nastiest. Our goal was Mount Plantain (2,077) We parked at the conservation sign on East street (1,740') and headed east and a bit south. The trail died out on us right after the trail junction and then it was some okay climb before hitting some more mountain laurel. Then it really started to rain, thunder and hammering rain. I got very cold with just some running gear which wasn't waterproof. Luckily it was a fairly short hike and we got back into the car and into some warm dry gear.