Even though it was a relatively crappy Sunday, weather-wise, we headed out for a little hiking in the early afternoon. We arrived at Mt. Tom State Park, driving through this fallen lava column.
We kind of had the idea of checking out the Eyrie House ruins, but I had a feeling we were going to be short on time, as they still close the gates to the park at 4pm, until spring. We set the more realistic goal of reaching Goat Peak, less than a mile away. (Here's a good topo map of the park). We parked at the closest gate still open, where Kelly discovered a swing set and immediately swung into kid mode.
She swung away while I got my stuff together. I've developed the bad habit lately of overloading myself with gear, for even the shortest hikes; GPS, binoculars, walking stick, camera of course, phone, pocket knife, extra batteries, and this time, an umbrella. You'd think I was going on an all day hike. I finally got myself together and her off the swings, and we headed up an old gated road. We passed several hikers coming down, and this jogger whipped by us heading up.
We didn't see him again, but I wonder if he was able to maintain his pace, as the road grew more and more snow covered the farther we got...
Eventually the snow became really pretty thick. We were on the north-west side of the range, where the sun hasn't had a chance to really melt it yet. We pressed on, and got to the gate that leads to the trail that leads to Goat Peak.
Getting to the top, we found a nice lookout with benches. Easthampton stretched out below. Goat Peak is famous for being a great Hawk migration lookout spot in the autumn. We saw two raptors from there. I think they were juvenile hawks, and they flew by within 5 minutes of each other. A couple Blue-Jays sounded the alarm as they flew from treetop to treetop below us.
Goat Peak tower loomed above, nearby. The current tower, made of steel, has stood there since 1928; several wooden towers had stood there before it, according to a sign nearby. The tower is rock solid, completely stable. But the stairs going up are steep. Kelly made it to the top, didn't like the looks of it, and immediately eased her way back down.
I did a little 360 degree video from the tower, despite the cloudy weather, and my kid's repeated attempts to sabotage the clip:
The M&M trail passes right through here, and we took that trail back to the road below where we parked. Along the way, we got a little rain, followed by a brief spat of snowfall. The snow was really kind of nice as we made our way down the nicely built trail and walked between groves of mountain laurels.
All in all, the whole loop was less than two miles. Good exercise, and a short way to go for a great view.