Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yellow, Red And Blue

We took advantage of the sunny Saturday and decided to hike up Mt. Holyoke, via Taylor's Notch. This time we approached it from the northern side trails. There's a parking area on Hockanum Rd, and this gate marks the beginning of the trail:

This trail soon branches off in two directions. One (yellow marked) trail heads more or less directly to Taylor's Notch, a dip on the crest of the range near the Summit House. The other trail (blue marked) takes a more meandering route up the side of the hill. We went with blue.

The trails up the northern face of the hill are still covered with snow. But they are easy and manageable, and not very steep for most of their length. There are Mountain Laurels and Hemlocks aplenty.

This trail must be even more beautiful in the spring when the laurels are blooming. A little further up the slope, the Birch trees begin to become more prevalent.

A bit of the sounds of the forest, courtesy of the Babbling Brook Cam:

We followed the blue trail, until it met up with a red trail, which led us to this, a glacial erratic I assume:

It's the appropriately named Conglomerate Rock. A big mish-mash sedimentary boulder, embedded in the earth. It looks like a geological sampler.

From there it got a little steeper, but wasn't very far until we came to the narrow road that winds it's way up to the top. We emerged from the woods near the Half-Way House. We also emerged right where they decided to stop plowing snow.

We were still on the north side, so the road was a ribbon of icy snow. But people were coming down it, individually and in small groups, carefully. We decided to continue on to the top.

This poor lady stopped for a second to say hi as she got closer, and immediately slipped and fell.

The dog made sure to show us that he learned nothing from an earlier debacle.

Once we rounded the curved road to the more southerly side, it began to become snow-free. Did I mention the road winds it's way to the top?

We made it to the top, and walked up this ramp next to the Summit House; to be rewarded with the always stunning views of the valley.

To the south, I-91 parallels the Connecticut river, as both wind their way into the distance.

And to the north, the river disappears into the hills of Mts. Sugarloaf and Toby.

The day was so clear, you could see Hartford, far off on the southern horizon, almost 40 miles away.

It'd probably be even clearer, if we had the keen eyes of this Eagle that was soaring overhead.

The views from the Holyoke Range never fail to impress me. It is truly one of the valley's most priceless features. Nearby is a pick nick area, and the grills look like they've been recently restored. I've brought lunch up here before, but never barbecued. The grills do look inviting though.

We headed back down, and caught the original yellow trail, for the most direct route back to the car. Green wood, on the yellow trail:

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