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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mount Everett

The nicest day of the year so far had me anxious to get out of work and soak up some of the nice weather.  Temperatures soared into the low 50's with abundant sunshine and it sure felt good.  Drove down to the southern Berkshires to hike up Mount Everett.  Mount Everett is located in the town of Mt Washington, which borders the New York State line to the the west and the Connecticut State line to the south.  It is also the highest peak in the southern Berkshires, offering sublime views from its summit.
A mixed hardwood forest immediately greets you as you near the parking area at the bottom of the gravel road.  There are many birch trees near this section.
During the warmer months, this road is an access road that can be traveled up to the Appalachian Trail above Guilder Pond.  In the winter, however, the only access past the metal gate is on foot.
It is a pleasant walk through hardwoods followed by a canopy of eastern hemlocks.  The trail climbs steadily to Guilder Pond, but it not truly steep.  Guilder Pond is a beautiful mountain pond located along the road that has its own loop trail.  It is the second(or third depending on who you ask)highest pond in the state.  Today's warm temps were melting quite a bit of ice, leading to a lot of pooling of water.
It is an extremely picturesque pond and is renown for its mountain laurel that surround the shoreline in June and July.
After a short climb beyond the pond, you come to a large parking lot for the Appalachian Trail.  From here, the trail follows an old road that begins to get a bit steeper as it climbs.
The climb is fairly steep for quite a distance here, enough to break a sweat.
Looking back down the bend with distant views becoming evident through the bare trees.
Near a large clearing, there is a hill that leads to a shelter and bench.
From the shelter area are tremendous views north and east.
Rolling Berkshire countryside far below.
37 miles to the north can be seen the majestic Greylock range.  There are many other Berkshire hills that can be seen.
A sign along a ridge line reads .1 mile to the summit.  It is a bit hard to read though.
Looking up from the trail near the summit.
Nearing the top of the mountain, the trees begin to get steadily smaller and smaller.
As you continue the climb, views to the south and east really begin to open before you.
The stunted pines near the summit.
One of the small rocky areas that provide fabulous views.
Northeast views from a ridge just below the summit.
A final push to the summit.
At the summit are the remnants of the former Fire Tower that stood here.  Today the concrete footings are all that remain.  
The Fire Tower was viewed as a safety hazard and removed by helicopter in early 2003.
Summit marker.  At 2624 feet in elevation it is the highest point in the southern Berkshires.
There are many dwarf pitch pines at the summit.  Some of these date back over 200 years in age.

On the descent back down off the summit, a view of Twin Lakes to south in Connecticut is visible.
Coming back down the trail, one is struck by the beauty of Guilder Pond again.
The pond has a feel to it more reminiscent of something you would find in a much farther north climate.
From the Guilder Pond Trail, the rounded Mount Everett can be seen rising to the skies and is known as "The Dome of the Taconics".
The moon was out just beyond the trees in the clear blue sky.
A great day for a hike.  Totaled about 3.75 miles total.  A spring feeling day.

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