Sunday, November 9, 2008
King O' The Hill
We hiked up the western end of the Mount Holyoke Range Sunday afternoon, in search of a little exercise and scenery. The air was fresh and cool as we made our way along the crest of the range, heading east towards the summit house on Skinner Mountain. The leaves are all gone. It's official. Grey brambly sticks above and crumply brown leaf litter on the ground below, at least until next May. Ugghh.
Oh well. We'll have to make the best of it. Nature will provide other things to occupy our senses. And beautiful things are still around, just harder to come by. Like tree fungi, for instance.
Even though the landscape has a dull greyness to it, there's still nothing like peering over a precipice with a fresh wind striking your face and billowing over you, as you take in your whole world in one eyeful.
Ah yes. This is why we climb. We continued along the rocky crest of the hill for about a mile, until our objective finally came into view, almost camouflaged against the thickening cloud cover.
We climbed up onto the viewing deck and took a seat on a bench to rest, and view.
The fast moving clouds were playing with the sun; drawing patchwork shadows on the landscape, and shining fingers of light highlighted select corners of terrain.
A beautiful display, and I wouldn't expect any less from this treasured viewing spot.
The main gates down below are already locked up for the winter season, blocking all traffic up the hill to the summit house. But that didn't seem to have too much of an impact on the visitors this weekend. Hikers abounded; we passed several on our way up through the woods, and more were coming and going up the paved road.
That's about when Nemo began stealing the show, as a group of kids swarmed on the critter.
The dog hammed it up, drawing on his repertoire of cute facial expressions, mock attacks, and stump-wagging. He then brought down the house with his famous 'Running Man' display: He'll stand tall on his hind feet and wheel his front paws in a circular motion. The kids squealed with delight.
The dog can be a charmer when he wants to be.
The fresh wind was beginning to become a bit of a biting wind, and we decided it was time to head back down.
Passing a dairy farm on the road back to the car...
....the dog, who was strutting proudly since his Oscar performance up at the summit house, caught the disparaging eye of a less than impressed bystander. The two locked gazes, and a stand-off ensued.
(Cue the Spaghetti Western music)...
All was quiet for a minute. In the distance, crows took flight.
The cow blinked, and Nemo drew first, erupting with a string of barks and howls that set the bovine back-peddling down the hill.
Even worse, his cohorts took to their heels right behind their leader, in a mini stampede that shook the ground.
That's it. The dog's already over-inflated ego will never come back down to earth again.
Look out, world.