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Monday, October 12, 2015

Finerty Pond/ McLennan Reservation(Southern Berkshires)

With perfect fall conditions forecast for Columbus Day, I was anxious to get out and enjoy the weather.  I figured most of the trails in the Adirondacks and Catskills would be packed because of the holiday, so I headed to a quiet section of the southern Berkshires.  
Early morning sunshine on Nassau Lake as I grabbed my coffee and got in the car.
 My first stop was the Finerty Trail, which provides access to tranquil Finerty Pond near the Lee/ Becket town line.  From the intersection of Route 102 and 20 in Lee, take Route 20 east for just over 4 miles and bear left onto Becket Road, which you will follow for just over .4 of a mile to a large parking lot on the left.  The trail begins just past a gate and also doubles as an ATV trail.
 The trail is wide and easy to follow and a bit rocky in spots.  Just before arriving at the pond at about 1.3 miles, a trail junction is met where the Appalachian Trail crosses.  I turned left here following the south side of the pond, where a small informal path leads to the quiet shores.
 The foliage across the pond is at peak.
 A small game trail crosses the AT where it looks like beavers have been active.
 Finerty Pond makes for a very peaceful, quiet place to relax and almost seems a world removed from the hustle and bustle.
 The northern shoreline of the pond.
After enjoying a few minutes on the shoreline, I turned back, retracing my steps, enjoying every step.
 Great foliage.
 Couldn't ask for better conditions.  Absolutely perfect.
 Got back to the car after 2.6 easy miles RT.  Decided to grab a quick bite to eat and then headed a bit further south to the McLennan Reservation in the tiny town of Tyringham, just southeast of Lee.   The property is owned and managed by the Trustees of Reservations and is found by continuing for 3.7 miles east on Main Road past the Tyringham post office to Fenn Road.  Turn left onto Fenn Road and follow it to the end, where a Trustees sign indicates the trail head.  Be careful driving on this road after inclement weather, as it is a rooted and uneven gravel road.
Yellow paint on trees blaze the way, as the trail winds through a hardwood forest, which was stunning on this fall day.
The trail follows a myriad of old woods road and stone walls.
After walking generally west for a while, the sounds of rushing water can be heard just downhill to your left.  The trail then turns north and eventually nears Camp Brook's rushing waters.  There are several pretty cascades to be seen along this stretch, as the brooks tumbles down a small gorge.
Another in a series of cascades, just a few yards further upstream.
 Continuing north and uphill, the trail soon opens up at a beautiful beaver pond known as Hale Swamp. 
 A beaver dam, with a backdrop of incredible fall colors.
 Reflections on what I can say is about as quiet of a place as I can recall.  If you are looking for true solitude, this is a great spot.
The trail skirts the south edge of the pond before returning to the golden woods.  It is important to look for the yellow blazes because there are so many woods roads that it can be a bit confusing.
Eventually the trail completes a 1.5 mile loop and returns you to the parking area. I lingered outside the car for a few minutes and even strolled down Fenn Road for a bit enjoying the beautiful day.
Hard to beat the foliage and weather on our Columbus Day.  Hiked about 4.1 miles total  for the day.

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