While most people focus on what’s ahead when they hike we suggest looking down at the forest floor. It’s there where you’ll find wild edibles of every shape, size, color and texture. We found these intoxicating mushrooms along a trail leading to Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge, M.A.

The fungi hunt is a fascination shared by many cultures. One of Mutti’s fondest memories as a child was foraging for tasty morsels in Southern Germany. Back then, the Black Forest was a treasure trove for the gourmet variety.

Before the ascent, we cross the Housatonic River by way of the Goodrich Memorial suspension footbridge at the end of Park Street. The handicap-accessible Mary Flynn Trail beckoned to the left. The quickly flowing water makes for stunning visuals.

We keep straight across the active train tracks. At the fork, we go left and amble through a 200 year old deciduous forest of old white pines, ash and hemlock.

Midway up, a boulder outcropping gave us a hint at the mossy wonders of the Ice Glen. Nearing the top, we spot patches of mountain laurel among birch trees, enchanting even at the end of the season.

Little Renne was carried up a rusting metal tower at the summit that provided a panoramic view of the Berkshires, including Mount Greylock to the north, the highest point in Massachusetts.

The Laurel Hill Association has been protecting all 3 Berkshire trails since 1853, making it the oldest conservation group still active today.

Prior to the hike, especially if you have a furry friend with you, a must stop is No. Six Depot. The West Stockbridge Roastery, CafĂ©, Store and Gallery has an eclectic menu of panini’s, salads, soups and pastries. Mutti and I split the Hosta Hill: pan-seared tempeh, local Crimson Kraut, arugula and orange-basil vinaigrette. We took home 16-ounces of freshly-ground, small batch TarrazĂș Costa Rica.

To see more photos, check out my FLICKR Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskEnPbpp

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