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Friday, March 6, 2015

Hopkins Memorial Forest(Berkshires)

Visited 2600 acre Hopkins Memorial Forest after work today.  The Forest is located in the corner of Massachusetts, New York and Vermont and is managed by the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies.  The actual trail head is located off of Northwest Hill Road in the town of Williamstown.  Trail maps are available at the large kiosk near the parking lot and across from the Rosenburg Visitor Center.
 As you enter the Lower Loop Trail, the first thing you see is the picturesque Moon Barn and old farm tools.
Getting started on the Lower Loop Trail on a bright, sunny, but cold day.
 A maple sugar shack is found a short distance along the Lower Loop Trail.
 The higher March sun angle did feel good, but the Arctic air kept temps almost 20 degrees below normal.
 Climbing up the Lower Loop Trail on the frozen trail.
 Great conditions for snowshoeing.
 The two Loop Trails make for a popular ay hike, totaling a bit over 4 miles.
 Stark winter beauty.
The Birch Brook Trail breaks off  from the Upper Loop Trail and climbs up the steep slopes of the Taconics.
The Birch Brook Trail climbs 1.4 miles to the Taconic Crest Trail through the peacefully quiet woods of Hopkins Forest.
 Unfortunately, due to fleeting daylight, I had to turn around just shy of the New York state line near the Taconic Crest Trail.
 Looking up the steep, east facing slopes through the shadows of the Taconics where Birch Brook's north branch flows down.
 Several footbridges cross the Middle and North branches of Birch Brook.
 The frigid waters of Birch Brook, flowing through the winter woods.
 As I finished the Upper Loop Trail, I quickly emerged out of the shadows of the Taconics.
 Looking back at the setting sun.
 This hollowed out tree looks like it could make a nice temporary cold weather shelter? 
 Hiked a total of 5.9 miles RT as daylight ran out on me.

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