11 miles, 5 hikers, 3 dogs, 1 summit
HIGHEST PEAK IN THE STATE
Tucked way up in the northwest corner of Massachusetts is Mount Greylock, the highest peak in the state. One Saturday, in the middle of April, my four friends and I decided to hike to the summit up 3,491 feet. We started at 9am and finished the hike about 7.5 hours later following the Money Brook Trail all 11 miles. Note: I believe the trail is only around 10 miles, but naturally we got lost a couple times. Stop judging us.
The Money Brook Trail was very wet. *Queue dirty thoughts* Some areas were unavoidably wet from the stream weaving in and out of the trail and other areas were lined with planks to help hikers get past these wet patches. Even though I did end up with a huge blister by the end, the beauty of the water along the trail was breathtaking and worth the wet boots, especially the view of the falls off the trail about half way up. My suggestion for you (because I care) is to wear waterproof boots. Then you can enjoy your hike and your friend doesn’t have to touch your wet sock while helping you get a Band-Aid around your heel politely pretending she doesn’t find it repulsive. Shout out to my friend Jen for helping a sister out.
- Understand the trail you are doing (i.e. Is the trail a loop or will you have to backtrack?) An effective way of doing this is to obtain a map and take it with you. We used the app AllTrails to help guide us, especially in areas where there was no service and no signs.
- Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Slow and steady wins the race. Just be sure to finish before sunset.
- Pack layers, including a compact shell. (i.e. I brought my Marmot.) This way you’ll be prepared for weather and temperature changes throughout the hike.
- Pack light. The heaviest item in your pack should be water. You don’t want to be weighed down, but you want to be prepared with items such as a lightweight flashlight.
- Drink and eat small snacks often. This will keep your body hydrated and energized.
A HUSKY AND A PORCUPINE
WARNING: Skip this section if you get queasy easily.
A husky and a porcupine. Sounds like a cute children’s book where the husky and the porcupine end up singing songs in the forest on their way to grandma’s house… well sorry to break it to you, that’s not how this story goes. My husky, Jack, decided to take on the third largest rodent in the world and to be blunt, shouldn't have. A porcupine has about 30,000 sharp tipped quills all over its body that spike up in defense. While Jack expected a clean kill when he decided to bite Mr. Porcupine, what he got was a mouth filled with quills so deep and barbed that pliers were required to remove most of them. We were thankful that our team of five made it possible to pull 30-40 spikes out as fast as possible right on the trail. Even the vet was impressed when we got him there. Safe to say, Jack won’t be messing with another porcupine anytime soon.
hidden valley campground
After trailblazing down the last twenty minutes of the hike to get Jack to the emergency vet as soon as possible, I was ready to sit my sore body next to a campfire and stuff my face with s’mores. This is exactly what we did at the Hidden Valley Campground. This campground usually doesn’t allow dogs, but made an exception or us because no other campers were there that weekend. We convinced the owner that our dogs were well-behaved and wouldn’t be loud. We made no promises about the humans. If there were any complaints, we might have just said, "Take a hike." Ba-Dum Tshh*
*The sound of drums after a bad joke.