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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dorothy Frances Rice Wildlife Sanctuary(Berkshires)

Got out of work early today and headed east to the Dorothy Rice Sanctuary for Wildlife in Peru, Massachusetts, high up in the eastern Berkshires.  To locate the Sanctuary, you follow Route 143 east from Hinsdale to Peru center, where you turn right onto South Road and follow it until you arrive at the trailhead marked by a gate and sign with trail maps.
The trail continues on Rice Road past the gate, which is only open to foot traffic.
 A large beaver pond is located on the left a short distance up Rice Road.
 After about .4 of a mile, you arrive at the Rice cottage which sits in the shadow of a large red spruce.
 A large informative trail map can be found near the cottage across an open field.
 An old stone well.
 One look at this picnic table gives an idea of how deep the snow pack is at this higher elevation.
 Crystal clear blue skies made for a very welcome sight today, giving us a break to our continuous onslaught of winter weather.  The bright sun did its best to warm things up into the mid and upper 20s.
 The elevation at the Sanctuary basically ranges from about 1950 feet to 2150 feet with many different trail options winding through deep woods.
 Most of the trails in the eastern section of the Sanctuary were buried in deep snow and I had to break trail, making for a slow go.
 An open hardwood forest.
 The very southern section of the property drops down through evergreens and across a small stream.
 The trails in the northern section seem more popular and are mostly all broken in, making for very easy walking.
Snowshoe hiked a total of 4.9 miles on a beautiful, sunny February afternoon.  Saw a few other folks out enjoying the relatively nice weather soaking in the fresh mountain air.