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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stony Ledge

Went hiking with my good friend Shawn on what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day with bright sunny skies and temperatures climbing into the low 70's.  We went east to the Berkshires to hike the Stony Ledge Trail for an outstanding and one of a kind view of the Gryelock Range and The Hopper, a giant bowl shaped valley directly below Mount Greylock's steep slopes.  The parking area is at idyllic Haley Farm, which is very picturesque in itself.  The Taconics can be seen off in the distance.
 The hike begins on a trail through the farm and with amazing views of Mount Prospect, seen here to the left.
 Glancing to the right is Stony Ledge, the peak we would be ascending today.
 The trail follows a wide tree lined section, which is almost a continuation of Hopper Road.
 The Hopper Trail continues straight, but we take a left and cross the green fields towards the woods.  Here is an amazing opportunity to see the Hopper straight ahead.
 The trail begins as a gentle climb, but becomes steeper and begins to rely on switchbacks to ease the way.
 Shawn doesn't hike too much and needed to break frequently but it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside so I didn't mind taking our time.
 I let him lead to continue on at his pace, as to not push him too hard.
 After about a mile and a half, a small side path leads to a clearing with pastoral views of Williamstown's countryside.
 Farms and buildings dot the landscape with East Mountain and the Greens of Vermont further beyond.
 This is simply a great spot to stop and take a few moments to enjoy the scenery.
 One last view down over Willaimstown.
 After 2 miles of steady climbing, the trail reaches a clearing where Sperry Road is found.  Here, only feet from the road is a view you won't soon forget.  Looking north towards Mt Prospect on the left at 2690 feet, and Mt Williams to the right with an elevation of 2951 feet.
 Directly across from you is Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state of Massachusetts at 3491 feet.
 A closer view of the Veterans War Memorial Tower atop Greylock's summit.
 Shawn looking down form the rocky ledges which provide the mountain its name.  The drop between here and Greylock into the Hopper is nearly 1000 feet below.
 Hard to gain perspective until you're way up here.  Shawn taking pictures from the ledge.
 A view far to the north of Vermont's Green Mountains.
 Another view towards the northern Greylock Range.  On the left is Mt Prospect again with Mt Williams and Mt Fitch continuing left to right.
 Here is a fine view of Shawn on Stony Ledge.  Notice the stones which you can hop around to in an effort to find the best view.
 The descent off the mountain was actually pleasant and relaxing and we passed a couple of people on their way up. Once back down to Haley Farm, we felt very good.
 We were both very satisfied with our 4 mile RT hike on a nearly perfect spring afternoon.  We said goodbye to the cows as we headed back to the car.

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