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video1.mov: Stony Ledge with a detour to March Catract falls

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Published on Aug 31, 2011

See the entire trip at http://www.everytrail.com.

This trail has got to be one of the most memorable hikes I have ever been on. I wanted to pick a trail that is long enough to be outdoors and enjoy nature. Berkshires offer a wide range of hiking possibilities for all levels of fitness. Mt. Greylock which is tallest one in Massachusetts came to my mind. I picked one of the Summit trails from DCR's leaflet - Stony Ledge (#4 from http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/mtGreyl...).

The trailhead is located at TV tower behind the Bascom lodge at the summit. You will start with Appalachian Trail (AT) South onto Hopper Trail and eventually Sperry Rd to the destination. AT is marked by white blazes (well known). Hopper trail is marked by blue blazes (there is no mention of this fact in the official leaflet; a five line description of 5.4 mile trail to Stony Ledge did not give me enough confidence to embark on this hike). Sperry Rd. is a stage coach road is unpaved and wide, so you will not miss it and there is no chance of going off-trail. As you will notice in this trail's GPS tracking and pictures, there are several road crossings and intersecting trails. You will notice my confusion half way through where I had to backtrack because I strictly went by leaflet's description.

As soon as you hit the trail (AT south) from TV tower, you will start losing altitude and arrive at a 3-way (like a T) intersection of Notch Rd. and Rockwell Rd. Look across the intersection to your (slight) right and you will notice a green AT sign. Cross the 3-way intersection and continue on AT south. After a short walk, the trail passes a small pond to the right. Several wooden planks and split trunks are laid out to tread on. Some of them so old that the huge nails on them looked very vintage. Maybe those planks are indicative of a mushy track whenever pond overflows after a rainfall. Continue and you will see a sign for Hopper trail to Campground 1.25 mi. This is where AT splits and you will start following blue blazes onto Hopper trail. Continuing on, the trail will come very close to Rockwell Rd. and here you will make a sharp left just behind the guard rails. You see a picture of it attached here with this trip. Very soon, the trail will split again where one goes onto Overlook Trail back to the summit. We continue onto Hopper trail for about a mile and you will pass a small stream just before we approach another fork in the trail. This where I took the wrong turn and retraced immediately after I realized my mistake. My tip is to stick to blue blazes on Hopper trail until you get to Sperry Rd.

Take a right on Sperry Rd. (unpaved stagecoach road) and from here it is straight as arrow to get to Stony Ledge, about 2.5 miles. I haven't uploaded the views from Stony Ledge in order not to spoil your accomplishment. I should say the views from here stupendous, you will see Mt. Greylock and the war memorial atop. While on the Sperry Rd., I took a detour to see the waterfalls at the end of March Cataract trail. The trail was absolutely gorgeous with huge trees and it felt as though I was enveloped by all the greenery. The trail was steep and narrow the last one thirds of the way. It definitely needed a reasonable level of fitness to complete the trip. You can see few seconds of video I shot. It must be all the rainfall from Irene that made 30 ft falls even more spectacular.

I hope this story will help you with the decision. Happy Hiking!

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