Dan Merrick (email@example.com) was kind enough to share these photos of his winter assault. Visit his trip report. You can also see more of his photos here.
Two more highpoints lured me to their summit on August 12th 1999. I now have a total of six summits on my quest for all fifty states. While the Massachusetts and Connecticut highpoints aren't considered difficult, I managed to make them more of a test than expected. I'll start off with Massachusetts and expound on my Connecticut adventure a few paragraphs later.
My wife, Kathleen and I made our annual summer pilgramage from our house in Saint Paul to her ancestral homeland. I left a day earlier than Kathleen so I could spend a full day scaling mountains. Well, my trip started off easily enough as I left my mother-in-laws house in Hudson Falls, New York. I headed south on Interstate 87 to Albany. The "Northway", as it is called, moves along at a good pace at 6:45 in the morning.
Just before Albany, I turned east on Highway 2 and made my way towards Massachusetts. By the way, Williamstown, Mass is a beautiful New England village that I passed through on my way towards Mount Greylock. Before long, I was in North Adams which is where the road to the summit starts. However, I continued south on Route 8 to Adams. My goal was to hike up to the summit.
I reached Adams about 1 hour and 45 minutes after I started from Hudson Falls. Like Williamstown, Adams is another quaint village. Anyway, I found West Mountain road (ask for directions) and drove a short distance to the Cheshire Harbor trailhead. The Cheshire Harbor trail is fairly wide and doubles as a mountain biking course. However, I think hiking is easier than mountain biking in this part of Massachusetts. The landscape is quite rugged with rocky peaks and a thick forest canopy. In fact, there's a guy named Pat Weaver, who is a member of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, from the area. I'm sure training in the mountainous region helped him reach that pinnacle.
Regardless, I made my way up the trail which ascends continually 3.5 miles from about 1,200 feet elevation in Adams to the Mount Greylock summit at 3,491 feet. About three fourths of the way, the trail intersects and joins the Appalachian Trail which also reaches the summit. At that point, the trail also crosses the asphalt road that goes to the highpoint. From there, it's a quick trip to the summit. After crossing the the road one more time, I reached the peak 55 minutes after starting in Adams.
I spent about 20 minutes at the top and checked out the War Memorial Tower and the Bascom Lodge which is a really nice facility. I took a few pictures and met a young Chemical Engineer from Chicago who quit his job so he could hike the Appalachian Trail. While there was fog earlier in the day, it was long gone revealling a hazy sun on the summit. From there, I went down the trail and back to Adams in 50 minutes. Mount Greylock was my 5th state highpoint after New York's Mount Marcy, Wisconsin's Timms Hill, Minnesota's Eagle Mountain and South Dakota's Harney Peak.
From Adams, I went south on Route 8 and Highway 7 on my way to Connecticut and Mount Frissell. The trip south was filled with small New England towns and twisting highways. It took me about an hour to reach Salisbury, Connecticut which is the starting point for the highpoint trip. I followed the directions in Paul Zumwalt's book,"Fifty State Summits", and reached the trailhead off of Mount Washington Road. This should have been a fairly easy highpoint but I managed to make an adventure out of it.
My first mistake came when I hastily read the summit directions in Zumwalt's book. I left the book in the car and went straight down the trail. After hiking about two miles, I started climbing and reached the turn for the summit. It was a short hike up to the top of the peak and its massive stone cairn. While on top, I realized I was on the wrong peak! I was on top of New York's Mount Brace! In this corner of Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and the Constitution state meet in one spot. Mount Frissell was in the distance and I took a nice panoramic picture of it.
Anyway, I went back to the car to find out what I did wrong. While there, a couple of guys were in the parking area and they had a map. I checked out the trails on their topographic map and decided to drive further down Mount Washington road to another trail that leads to Mount Frissell. After parking the car I took off down the trail and before long, I was climbing a moderately difficult rock face that leads to the summit. A short time later, I was standing on the summit. Wait a minute! It was the wrong summit again! I hastily read the topographic map and found myself on the summit of Round Mountain.
That was it, I was heading home. I hiked back out, drank the last bottle of water I had with me and drove back down Mount Washington road. As I drove past the original parking area, I realized I had come a long way and should give the summit one more try. As a result, I pulled into the parking area and proceeded down the Mount Frissell and Mount Brace Trail again.
However, this time, I went a couple hundred meters past the Mount Brace trail and soon found the Mount Frissell summit trail. The sign said it was 1/2 mile to the New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut tri-state stone marker and one mile to the Mount Frissell summit. I took the right trail this time, found the tri-state marker and a short time later, I was climbing the fairly steep trail to the top.
Along the way, I came to the rigeline with the Massachusetts and Connecticut marker rod and the stone cairn marking the Connecticut highpoint. I took a couple of pictures and then went another 200 to 300 meters to the Mount Frissell summit stone cairn. Interestingly, the summit is actually in Massachusetts. All told, it's about a 6 mile round trip to the summit. Well, I made my way back to the car and would have given a hundred dollars for a drink of water. I was very thirsty, more than at any other time I could recall.
Once I reached the parking area, I jumped in the car and blasted down the trail on my quest for water in Salisbury. After drinking three cans of soda I purchased at a local store, I drove back to Hudson Falls with my 6th state highpoint in the bag.