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Monday, April 28, 2014

Berry Pond Circuit Road(Pittsfield State Forest)

Looks like a lot of rain in the upcoming forecast for the week, so I took the opportunity to get out to do some hiking after work while we had a decent day.  I drove east to the Pittsfield State Forest just over the state line in Massachusetts.  There are many trails here, but I decided to do a hike of the main paved road through the forest.  It climbs steadily to the top of Berry Hill and then descends back to the forest entrance for a total of 5.5 miles.
 As I climbed the road, a couple of cars went by, but it was mostly quiet, with the only sound being the rushing Lulu Brook far down the hillside.
 After climbing for quite a distance, you reach a short side trail that leads to a wonderful display of Azaleas in June.  Unfortunately there is still little in the way of flowers or plants at this elevation. The trail leads through brush and meadows to a fine clearing with nice views.  A close look reveals the circuit road amongst the trees and Mount Greylock's Memorial Tower in the distance.
 The sun and cloud mix made for interesting skies over nearby Berry Mountian.
 Once back on the circuit road, even more amazing views lie ahead from the summit of Berry Hill.
 A small pull off affords drivers a chance to park and soak in the majestic view to the west.
 The views are splendid past the state line and into New York.
 The view here is above the deep state forest woods of Goodrich Hollow and into the farmland of rural Rensselaer County.
 A nice spot to roam around and enjoy the views.
 Some of New York's rolling hills fade into the horizon.
 A great view at the rural countryside of Stephentown, NY.
 Continuing down the road, a look back at the parking area lookout.
 Just down the hill from Berry Hill lies Berry Pond, the highest natural body of water in the entire state.
 The reflections were amazing as the clouds danced around.
It is amazing to view the clarity of the water of Berry Pond.  There are several campsites located along the pond however, and is usually one of the most popular spots in the State Forest.
 A bit further along the road, is a side trail that leads about .3 miles to Tilden Swamp. This is a far more tranquil location if you are looking for serenity.
 The clouds were really thickening up as I looked out over the swamp's waters.
 Parker Brook's headwaters are found here at the outlet from Tilden Swamp.  Further down in the forest, the brook has several beautiful cascades that are worth a look.
 As I descended steadily down the circuit road, the sun began to reemerge making for a very pleasant walk.
 Noticed this pretty cascade flowing down the mountain from an unnamed tributary of Parker Brook.
 Finally the road begins to level off as you near some more camping areas and open fields.  Parker Brook continues to flow beautifully beside the road here.
 There's something about the sound of a babbling brook that is certainly relaxing.
 I'm always amazed by just how clear the mountain water is here.  Whether it be Parker Brook, pictured here:
 Or Lulu Brook seen here, the water has a purity that is hard to match anywhere else.
As I returned to the car, there were many mountain bikers arriving.  The parking lot was nearly full, so it was my time to leave.  After completing the circuit road and several small side trails for a total of just under 7 miles, I felt satisfied and ready to head home.

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