Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hiking Mount Greylock

On Columbus Day, I took the day to hike to the top of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. The day was excellent for hiking: cool and clear. When I started hiking, the temp was 35 degrees. However, the trail was uphill all the way to the summit and I quickly warmed up. The photo above is of Mount Greylock and fall colors from images.ibsys.com/

I took the Hopper Trail to the summit, so named because it parallels a deep ravine that looks like a grain hopper. The trail took me through tunnels of fall colors. The leaves are at their peak in this part of Massachusetts this week.

At ½ mile from the top, the Hopper Trail joined the Appalachian Trail. There, I was joined by hundreds of residents of the town of Adams located at the Eastern base of Greylock. They were doing the annual Adams Ramble. The mood was festive as everyone huffed and puffed up the last steep ascent.

The views from Greylock were worth the ascent. I could see the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Adirondacks in New York. On rock monuments there were several quotes from Henry David Thoreau, who ascended Greylock in 1844 and penned these words:

"As the light increased, I discovered around me an ocean of mist, which by chance reached up exactly to the base of the tower and shut out every vestige of the earth, while I was left floating on this fragment of the wreck of a world, on my carved plank, in cloudland. . . . As the light in the east steadily increased, it revealed to me more clearly the new world into which I had risen in the night, the new terra firma perchance of my future life. There was not a crevice left through which the trivial places we name Massachusetts, or Vermont or New York, could be seen, while I still inhaled the clear atmosphere of a July morning - if it were July there. All around beneath me was spread for a hundred miles on every side, as far as the eye could reach, an undulating country of clouds, answering in the varied swell of its surface to the terrestrial world it veiled. It was such a country as we might see in dreams, with all the delights of paradise."

In nature, Thoreau found genius, divinity and the sacred. For him the natural world was a palette on which the Divine Artist had painted a masterpiece. I, too, find in nature a place of spiritual refreshment and renewal. At the end of my 11 mile hike my overwhelming emotion was that of gratitude.

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