August 2003
Next Photo Home Up Previous

Mt. Greylock Camping - October 3-5, 2003
Activity, Photos, and Trip Report by Dawn S.
Growing up in the Berkshires, I grew up watching the trees change color all around me. Now that I live on the other end of Massachusetts, I miss being there to see the entire foliage process unfold in the hills. There is some good foliage around here, but it is just not the same. So I try to get back to see the foliage in the Berkshires, and there is no better way to do it then to be right on Mt. Greylock. -- but because I need to book this popular campsite so far ahead, there is just no way to know what we will get when we arrive. Last year, we had some nice weather and muted colors. This year, we had less color and more rain, but no less fun. Bob, Donna, Michelle, and Joe braved the elements to join me on this trip. Sometimes, it doesn't matter what the forecast says, it's still worth cutting out of work and heading for the hills and that's exactly what we did.

On Friday, Michelle, Bob & Donna arrived early and had a fire going by the time I arrived. Joe arrived shortly thereafter. There was lots of catching up and getting to know the people we didn't already know. We talked ambitiously of our hike options for the next day. The last weather forecast I had heard was suppose to give us a mostly dry day on Saturday before the rain came in later... but when we woke up on Saturday, we were not so lucky.

Before we even finished our oatmeal, the rain drops had started. Probably the only really bad part about hiking in the rain is not getting the views. We hiked to the top, and instead of hiking on to other views we would not get to see, we sat in Bascom lodge and played some cards in front of the fireplace. Once we headed back to camp, we feasted on all the food we had brought, including some mulled cider. Having a shelter at the site sure came in handy as the rain kept coming down!

Sunday, the rain stopped and we had breakfast overlooking the Hopper valley and the peak of Mt. Greylock before packing up. On the way out, we visited Rounds Rock, a short hike with amazing views. A good way to end the trip. One of these years, I hope to be so lucky as to hit peak foliage and have terrific weather, but this is New England and you just never know what you'll get!

Pulpit Rock - August 23, 2003
Activity by Pam F.
Photos and trip report by Ken L.
Some trip report additions from Pam F.
Joan, Regina, Pam and Shadow, Jan, Jen, Mary, and Your Webmaster took a walk over at Pulpit Rock in the Bedford, NH area.  This is a small parcel of land with a few trails that lead over interesting geological formations.  It was Your Webmaster's first visit there.

During the retreat of the glaciers there was a torrent of water carving out the rocks.  Today very little water remains, leaving the incongruous display of water-carved rock with little to show about what actually did it.

A short way down the trail there's a sign that points to a view of some wetlands, but, well, this being August and all, there's not much water hanging around.  Pam thought we'd see much more water with all the rain we had.

We followed the white blazed trail to the end, where there used to be a saw mill.  The mill is long gone, but the stones used to dam the water are still there.

Your Webmaster spotted a sunny patch on the old dam, and it was time to kick back a little and get out from where the skeeters were roaming.  Soon everyone followed, crossing a small stream to get there.  Shadow enjoyed crossing the small stream so much that he did it twice.  It was nice to sit in the sun.  Shadow thought so, too...

...and he enjoyed rolling around in the dirt and sharing his ambience.

We returned along a trail blazed with orange, and it's there that many of the interesting geological formations are:  waterfalls; the pulpit; the "mini" Grand Canyon.  Nope, no pictures this time (they came out kinda dark), so you'll have to come visit with us next time to catch a glimpse of what torrents of water from the glaciers can create.

We did, however, see more shrooms, which were in abundance with various sizes, shapes, and colors.

Following our hike we all went over to Shorty's in Bedford for some chow.

Pulpit Rock is an easy walk through the woods, and we figure we did about 2.5mi.  It is more interesting during the high water season when more of the cascades and small waterfalls are active.

BBQ at Dan's - August 17, 2003
Activity by Dan L.
Photos and trip report by Ken L.

Dan "The Pup", Barbara, and Anne by the BBQ

Dan enjoys gettin' the gang together for a BBQ now and then (as well as other parties during the year).  We had some tunes, Dan had the grill fired up, and we got to chow down.

Mary E. and Jack (standing) came back from Mary's camping in NH activity to visit us
...and there's Anne relaxing in the comfy chair

What made today extra special was the rare appearance of the growing ranks of second generation GONewEnglanders!  It was great to see the kids---two of whom I hadn't met 'til today!

Dave M. holds up Kiersten, our latest addition from this year

LeighAnn and little Ashley came by

...and Tammy with Will (middle) and Andrew (left), all GONewEngland veterans by now!

It was a pleasant afternoon of watching the kids play, filling up on food, and even revisiting some long past GONewEngland activities in Dan's photo collection.

Don't worry if you missed this one - Dan will be putting together more!

Beaver Brook "Mushroom Tour 2003" - August 16, 2003
Activity and trip report by Ken L.

We went over to Beaver Brook in Hollis, NH for "just another walk".  I should know by now that a visit to Beaver Brook is never "just another walk".  This time out we encountered mushrooms...and more mushrooms!

It all started out innocently enough with GONewEngland visitors Anne K. and Your Webmaster.  We took the educational woodsy trail from the Brown Lane Barn where small signs point out the many plant and tree species along the trail.  For the dogs along the trail, the dog owners had to point out what they were, like this BIG, friendly, furry puppy:

...a Leonburger.  There were two of them, both happy to see us, but both a bit warm in the heat so they weren't jumping all over as they normally would be, according to the owner.

The woodsy trail led us out to the flower garden, which is blooming nicely.

It was then that things started to go wrong...very wrong.  I believe Anne, our resident botanist, riled the Plant Gods by getting out the key book attempting to identify things coming up from the ground. 

To thwart us, the Plant Gods used their mighty powers to bring to life hundreds of mushrooms, which we encountered on the trail leading from the road near the flower garden down to the big beaver dam.  Neither Anne nor Your Webmaster know anything about mushrooms, so we had to go in blind.  That didn't stop us from identifying what we saw, though:  "That's Indian Pipe!" (OK, that one was easy); "We'll call this one a 'pancake mushroom' because it looks like a pancake"; "OK, then, that must be the 'fried egg mushroom without the yolk'"; "This one is the 'bowl of alphabet soup mushroom'"; "And here's 'spotty shroom'"...No book, no keys required.


We figure the massive amounts of heat and humidity over the past few weeks gave rise to the Mushroom Forest.  They come up so fast that you can almost hear them grow!

We stopped at the big beaver dam, which is shrouded in foliage now.  It's amazing the amount of water that thing holds back.  It creates Spatterdock pond, which we followed for a while, stopping on a bridge to chow down some snacks.

Beavers create the dams that create Spatterdock Pond

A short time later we came to a fork in the trail, and I mentioned that one way led to an old cellar hole, so we went there to try to find it.  No luck, too much plant growth.  But I'm sure we'll encounter it should we return to Beaver Brook again later in the year when the plants have died back.

We made it back to the Maple Lane Barn, and Your Webmaster made the mistake of sitting on a bench to take a rock out of his shoe.  It was so pleasant there we just sat on the bench for a while.  Eventually we summoned motivation to depart (it took some effort), and then it was off to Shorty's for a bit of liquid refreshment.

Hopefully we'll have a "shroomologist" for our next Mushroom Tour.  Somehow I don't think "alphabet soup mushroom" is that thing's real name, ya know?  :-)

Maudslay State Park Walk - August 3, 2003
Activity and trip report by Ken L.
Flower ID by Anne K.

Dad and the kids at Maudslay State Park

Anne, Shannon, Rich, Your Webmaster

Four of us wandered over to Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA.  There's a parking fee now, but that didn't deter us.  The weather was cloudy, and it was a bit humid with a bit of sun later in the day.  Yep, skeeters aplenty.

We set off along a path through the dark forest and down to the river where we paused for a while for snacks.  After that we wandered around more of the grounds of the old estate.

Left:  Cultivated thistle
Top:  Unknown, but interesting
Bottom:  A very late rhododendron bloom
Right:  Foxglove

You can see what remains of some old buildings and other structures, foundations, and gardens.  There's plenty of flora (as our resident botanist Anne will attest) from mountain laurel to ladyslipper, and an area of the Park is closed off in certain months while birds roost.

Shannon and I take pictures of each other

The old garden, now under the care of volunteers

After that we visited the old foundation and the garden, Rich and Shannon decided to call it quits for the day. 

Anne and I had a bit of lunch, then we explored the other side of the Park where I'd never been.  Don't tell anyone, but we managed to find our way to where we shouldn't have been.  We attempted to follow a trail on the official map, but either we were wrong or the map was.  I think it was the map.  Anyway, we found our way to what seems to be an old pump house, with the pump still there but tossed aside.  A large belt would have gone up from the pump to the wheel on the ceiling.  Beyond that, I don't know what it all did or how it worked.  There is a cistern outside next to the pump house, so we figure that's from where the estate drew its water.  Although how all this pump stuff was configured is beyond me. 

I think the engineer in me wrote this section, actually.  Sorry.  :-)

We skipped the rest of that non-trail which wasn't going anywhere anyway and headed across the street for more stuff Your Webmaster had never seen.  It was a walk through the woods and along some swamps, and we even startled some deer.

After that adventure, we heard the rumble of thunder and decided to leave for the day.

Maudslay is one of those places that anyone with the urge to explore should visit.  Easy walking, some nice and picturesque areas, great places to have lunch and relax by the river, and rhodos galore---must be seen while in bloom.