The Conquest of Mt. Tom

Richard had the week off and was interested in a moderate hike, having recently conquered Mt. Monadnock with Amy.

We decided that Tuesday would be best and, after I carefully described my understanding of "moderate", Rich checked one of his books and suggested Mt. Tom out in Holyoke. That’s the way these things seem to work between us. Rich does the research and I show up. The boon for him is getting to go wherever he wants, as I will follow him practically anywhere. To me, of course, the upside is avoiding all that planning of stuff.

A beautiful day, a two hour drive chatting with a good friend and we were at the Mt. Tom Reservation. After parking and consulting the local Ranger, we set off on the M-M Trail that leads from Monadnock to Metacomet, according to the trail map. This portion is a ridge walk across a couple of peaks until, after about two miles, you reach mighty Mt. Tom.
OK, it’s only 1200 feet.

Having just recently gone back to the gym after a delightful, if lazy, summer, I was "challenged" by the first quarter mile or so which was a steep climb up about 300-400 feet. After that, it was a pretty mild hike with several rocky overlooks affording beautiful views of Easthampton and the Connecticut River Valley.

We met a couple of volunteers busily repainting the trail blazes who stopped to explain what we were looking at. We could see Barnes and Westover airports as well as UMass Amherst and, when we reached the summit, we could see Hartford rising out of the mist. A giant C-5B Galaxy was circling and doing touch and go’s at Westover.

Connecticut Valley

This is the framework of the locally famous Mt. Tom Christmas Star, resting in the off season.

The intrepid, if ageing, hikers.

The actual peak of Mt. Tom is densely populated with towers and generators and seems to provide all the cell coverage for the river valley. The black specs among the jet contrails are a few of the dozens of migrating hawks we saw. We were told they stop here every year to feed en route to South America. Must be the local rodents least favorite time of year.

As we left, we stopped at the much heralded Dinosaur Footprints viewing area hard by Rt. 141.

Actual dinosaur footprint.

Graffitti on the highway retaining wall in the Dinosaur Footprint viewing area. R.I.P., Ray.

All in all, a great day, topped off by dinner at an Italian restaurant in Norton. I feel so…..fit!

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