Geoffrey and I spent the day in the Williamstown / North Adams area just relaxing and getting ready for our climb tomorrow. We slept late – It was chilly and it felt good to stay snuggled under the covers before heading out to see the area.
After a good breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs, we decided to drive up to the top of Mt. Greylock to check out the view from the summit. The weather started out sunny and as we made our way up the mountain it grew increasingly cloudy and very windy. As we got above the tree line we started seeing snow – yes you did not read that wrong. There was a dusting of snow and ice cycles hanging from the rocks.
By the time we reached the summit we were in winds blowing a full 40 to 50 knots. We were not even dressed to walk across the parking lot. I just kept saying “crap, it is cold up here!” Just in front of the Veterans War Memorial Tower there is a large topographical view of the mountain with all of her trails. We were fighting the winds to try to get a prospective of the Cheshire Harbor Trail when a group of about 8 climbers joined us. I literally saw them come up over the edge – each with walking sticks and large grins on their faces, no doubt glad to be at the top!
It was a Mom and Dad with six boys probably ranging in age from about 8 to 12 or so. I said “what trail did you come up?” and all at the same time each of the boys started showing me on the map that they climbed from here – to here to here. About that time the Mom spoke up to tell me that they had camped out last night and started climbing right after breakfast. I was so stuck on her words, “we camped out last night” that I totally lost out on breakfast and what time they started their climb up.
It was 38 degrees over night. I was chilled in my hotel room, snuggled under my covers – with the heat on and my very warm husband beside me. And this group slept out in this damp, 38 degree weather in the elements which included a light dusting of snow. Holy Purple Cow (which happens to be the Williams College Mascot!). I really am a girly-girl who has a long way to go getting my blood thickened to withstand these cold temperatures.
We were delighted to learn that we may have our picnic inside on the back porch of the Baxter Lodge that sits at top of Mt. Greylock. I was seriously thinking we are having a picnic in 40 to 50 mile winds tomorrow, Really? I am relieved beyond words that we can get inside to warm up. Otherwise, I was envisioning touching the summit, snapping a photo and heading down!
Our next task was to find the trailhead of the Cheshire Harbor Trail. We learned from the attendant at Baxter’s Lodge that it was about 12 miles from where we were standing by car, but only about a 3.5 mile descent from the summit on foot. We set out by car to find it – and after many curvy roads we finally located it, just outside of the town center of Adams. We drove to the center of town, found a round-about with a statue of Mckinley in the center and made our way up West Mountain Road. The view of the summit from the beginning of the trailhead was not nearly as daunting as it appeared earlier looking down from the summit. We are set – Cheshire Harbor Trail!
Our last task of the day was to stop at the grocery so we could pick up breakfast for in the morning. I am not a breakfast person – you may recall from our Mt. Katahdin climb that I was the only one who did not eat breakfast before starting the climb. I learned after about the first hour that this was a big mistake. I was exhausted and literally out of internal fuel. I have been trying to at least get down a banana and some protein juice in the morning now before I work out.
We went to a little health food market and would you believe the bananas were so green that Geoff just kept right on walking. This is the guy who starts out every day of his life with a banana. He grabs fresh raspberries, two containers of plain yogurt (can you say yuck?) and some honey to go on top. Lastly, he pours about a cup of whole grain cereal out of a long tube like machine that reminded me of the grain my dad used to feed his horses. I seriously looked at him and said, “what on earth do you think I am going to eat in the morning?” All I wanted was a bottle of naked juice and a ripe banana.
We located another store, I now have ripe bananas, cheerios (that is the breakfast of champions), two bottles of naked juice and a bear claw. This truly is a weeks worth of breakfast for me and I think I may have to start eating at midnight to ingest all of this before we start at 9:00 am.
We have touched base with all of our local climbers – we should have family checking in a little later, and we are almost ready to go. There is a 30% chance of rain tomorrow but we are climbing this mountain come rain or shine. Keep us in your thoughts as we summit Mt. Greylock. It is just another small step in our climb for the cure! We dedicate this climb to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and all those working for the cure!
Pam & Geoff
In The Beautiful Berkshires