Take-out lunch atop Pine Cobble Mountain
“Take-out” is the responsible thing to do today but hikers have been practicing the culture since there were mountains to ascend. Just be sure to save the container, wash and repeat! Our little tail-wagger knows this only too well.
Renee licked her chops hoping for a few small crumbs of our PB&J sammies atop Pine Cobble Mountain. She didn’t have to wait long. In Mutti’s exhausted state, having just completed a steady elevation gain of over 1100 feet – at a fairly brisk pace – she succumbed to the begging with bread crusts and slices of American cheese.
I’m having a love affair with the trails that border Williamstown, Massachusetts. With any luck, we will be able to hike the rarely-visited northern Taconic Range during the health crisis. It’s a closer destination compared to the ‘cats and ‘daks so fuel is saved and offers views without the need to climb a fire tower. The DEC closed access to all fire towers in New York State recently.
(NOTE: Two days after we hiked here, DEC announced the following: New Yorkers over 70 years old should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. This blog entry might be the last hike Mom makes for some time.)
There was one remaining spot in a trailhead parking lot for 6 cars. We suited up in the event of rain. Maintaining a safe distance of 6-feet or more between hikers (sometimes that meant backing off the trail into the woods), we summited past quartzite outcroppings and rare pitch-pine habitats. We donned gloves and used hiking poles sparing the need to grab tree branches or rocks. Native red berries called wintergreen colonized in the moist, acidic soils along the trail.
This wilderness goes by the name Clarksburg State Forest with 4.5 miles of Appalachian Trail (AT) passing through into Vermont and the Green Mountain National Forest. Switchbacks and small staircases built and maintained by the Williams Outing Club and the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation offered some respite from the steep grade.
Dogs weren’t as compliant with the virus rules and sniffed at our backpacks as we passed. Surely, they caught the scent of treats in the outside pocket. A metal water bowl left in the woods proved how accommodating this trail is for pet owners.
Posted signs at the beginning of the hike marked private lands owned by nearby homeowners and Williams College. We chatted briefly with young hikers descending from above, one a faculty member admitted that this would be one of her last outings. She needed to focus on how to teach the remainder of her course online when classes resumed after spring break.
We hoped for some sun at the summit but it remained overcast. Still, the rain held off and we de-layered along the way.
At the top, protected from the winds, we picked a spot to dine with panoramic views of Williamstown, the Mount Greylock Range, Mount Rainer, even Berlin Mountain. Opposite us, the views continued north towards North Adams and Vermont.
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