Climbing high up the whale in Massachusetts

Climbing high up the whale in Massachusetts

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 42.63750°N / 73.1667°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: May 29, 2004
Activities Activities: Hiking


Mount Greylock  photo_id=90399

What can I say about Greylock except that it is under-appreciated. This impressive mountain stands high over Adams, Massachusetts, with a steep face extending upwards of 2500 feet from the streets and buildings.

Despite growing up in Connecticut, I hadn't been to New England is at least three years, and not in Massachusetts for at least six. I invited Brian, my friend from college, to join me on a three-highpoint trip to Greylock, Mount Washington, and Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island for its open access day. (Yes, trips to Jerimoth Hill were only allowed five days a year back in 2004).

To get to Greylock, we took the Taconic parkway from New Jersey to upstate New York. When we crossed over into Massachusetts, Greylock became visible rather quickly. We struggled at first to find the road to the summit. We first took a road too far to the south, and realized we had to go back up north to North Adams to get to the trailhead. We turned back and got back on route 8, and headed north where the road to the trail was much easier to find. Once on the correct road, we headed down to the parking area for the Cheshire Harbor Trail.

Brian with Greylock behind himBrian at the trailhead, with Greylock behind him

Brian was pretty slow in getting ready, which ended up throwing us off for the rest of the trip (although we still managed to bag all three highpoints).

The trail was gradually steep for the first two miles. It had rained the day before, so the slopes were muddy and the rocks were a little slippery.
The trail got relatively steep at sections towards the later stages of the hike. We crossed the road a couple times, and then reached the N. Appalachian Trail, which winded around a pretty lake just below the summit. We could see how much more we had at that point, which was just another couple hundred feet. The summit was not visible.

Finally, the AT came out towards.....civilization..../:(

The civilization was at the summit. A huge parking area with buildings and a huge summit tower. The summit is enormous, so we walked around to see the views from different directions. The first thing I did upon reaching the summit, was walk over to the left side of the summit area (coming from the N. Appalachian trail) and viewed Vermont and New York peaks. The Adirondaks are barely visible, and Presidentials aren't visible at all, even with the clear view. However, there were excellent view towards Vermont's Green mountains. Views towards the Catskills were fair.

Looking down on Adams,...Looking down at Adams from the summit

While my friend meandered around the summit, I went up the summit tower. It took a lot of time and energy, with 100 feet or so of stairs, to go up there to see poor viewpoints due to dirty windows, and cramped space. There was no ability to take photos, made worse by the fact that you have to stay inside, and lots of jumbling, bumbling tourists, who get in the way and distort the pristine nature of the peak. A man actually proposed to his fiance' in front of all the people in the tower. I hate to be a downer, but I thought to myself that this was the stupidest proposal I had ever seen. I mean, of all the places to propose, a dark, dingy tower full of tourists just isn't impressive. At least that is my take. All I know is that this couple probably isn't the brightest or most interesting pair you could meet.

After climbing down from the summit tower, I found my friend sitting along the steep edge of the mountain having lunch. We relaxed for awhile before descending back to the car. From there, we head to Mount Washington, which proved to be a far more interesting endeavor.

As for Greylock, my impression is that the best trail to hike is probably the Thunderbolt Trail. The Cheshire Harbor Trail is nice, but the views are pretty much nonexistent for most of the way. The area is very pretty, and the views are very nice. Still, the mountain is far more impressive from the valley below. It really does look like a whale.

This was my last hiking trip before I bought a digital camera. For this reason, the photos are not as good as the ones I have taken since. This was my 22nd state highpoint.


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