The gentle wrinkles of the Birkshires were a pleasure to hike. We walked on stopping in Cheshire for breakfast then Dalton for lunch. The first real climb of New England loomed before us. Mt. Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts and features the first of the AMC huts we would encounter as we headed north. Bascom Lodge is on Greylock’s summit along with the finest views in the state. The Appalachian Mountain Club runs the show at Bascom and provides lodging and meals for the myriad of gomers who drive to the top. They also give AT hikers an opportunity to work for a space at the lodge. When Mark and I reached the summit, we reserved a spot on the croo* and were put to work.
In exchange for a couple of hours of easy labor, Mark and I ate and slept at the lodge. We were lucky to find a spot as it was barbeque night and the place was packed! People from all over take the drive up the Greylock for this once weekly mountaintop feast. Yeah buddy… good eats and great company. After dinner the clean-up commenced, Mark and I rolled up our sleeves and went to work. The Hut Croo was primarily youthful college students on break and the work was interlaced with much laughter and horseplay. At one point all work stopped and the entire croo as well as some of the guests headed outside to watch the sunset. That evening the colors were exceptionally vivid because of a recent volcanic eruption on the other side of the world.
The AMC is sometimes referred to as the “Appalachian Money Club” for some folks believe their primary interest is cash flow. I don’t agree. Having experienced many of the Huts on the Trail and seeing the AMC’s work everywhere in the New England mountains, I cannot give enough praise for the organization. The Appalachian Mountain Club has done a great deal to preserve this heavily impacted region and still offer great accomodations at a reasonable price.
After a fantastic breakfast of blueberry pancakes with coffee, a couple blueberry muffins, fresh blueberries and then a bowl of blueberry cobbler, Mark and I headed down the mountain eating wild blueberries as we descended. Ah yes, the blues were in season and Mark and I ate our share. We stumbled off the mountain and rolled into North Adams for lunch. We drank a couple of beers with our grinders and then headed for the Green Mountain State.
* The “croo” is how the AMC Hut staff like to refer to themselves.
…continue the expedition, read: Vermont, Land of a Zillion Flies [link]