"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Massachusetts High Point

Pittsfield, MA
Bonnie Brae Campground

These next few High Point stops are going to be much quicker than we wanted, but we have friends we are eager to meet up with in Maine.  We have also spent a few times in different parts of Massachusetts so we don't mind that we'll just be zipping through this time.

It was a short and pleasant drive through some very pretty countryside that reminded us of where we used to live in Upstate NY.

I couldn't get my camera out fast enough but we had just come out of a very large turn.  The way this wall was painted made it feel like we were on a racetrack.

We had a very nice campsite with our own deck at Bonnie Brae Campground.  It's a small, private park with nice natural landscape.  Very green.  We paid $40 a night for FHUs.  Site #25. The owners were very nice and came right over to see if we needed any help getting in to our spot as it was rather tight with a large stump on one side.  They even trimmed some branches out of the way for us.  No problem though, Steve backed right in like a pro!
We took a little drive through the cute town later.  The campground is just up the hill from a cute lake.  We did some shopping then relaxed at camp.

Many pretty buildings and churches with lots of very nice people.

Well, most of the people.  Except this guy.  I guess this is what you put on your truck when you're an A$$hole from Massachusetts.  Loud and Proud :-)

The High Point here is another beautiful mountain with a large tower.  Mount Greylock is located in the Berkshire Mountains, and is the highest mountain in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet.  It can be seen for miles around, and is very impressive as it rises nearly 2,700 feet above the surrounding town of Adams, Massachusetts.  It is a "monadnock",  which is a lone, isolated mountain rising steeply above the surrounding area.

At the top there are 365 degrees of beauty as well as the 93-foot-high Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower.
The light was at the time the strongest beacon in Massachusetts, with a nighttime visibility range of up to 70 miles.

While we walked around, took pictures and enjoyed the views, we stopped to talk to this gal who was hiking.  The Appalachian Trail runs through here as well.  After chatting with her for a bit we learned this about her:  Her trail name (everyone who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide or the Appalachian Trail is given or takes a "trail" name for the hike.  Usually something silly noted about you).  This is QP.  It stands for Queen P.  As is pee.  Something to do with her little dog which started the hike with her and was later picked up by a friend.  She is a solo hiker in her 20s.  This always impresses the heck out of me!  I love to hike.  I love to hike alone now and then.  But to hike a long trail system like this, sleeping, hiking alone in the middle of nowhere, crazy weather, animals etc, ALL ALONE just amazes me!  So proud of anyone who does this.  QP lives in North Carolina and started at the beginning of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia with a little snow in March and hopes to finish in Maine in September.  She took a short break and spent some time sightseeing in Boston.  The worst mosquitoes were in NY and the longest stretch to her was during Virginia.  She has seen 3 bears along the way so far but all ran away once they saw/heard her.  She said her scariest moment with an animal was actually a cow!  It was not too happy to see her and she was afraid it was going to charge her.  Luckily it didn't.  Good Luck to you Queen Pee!  We hope you make it to Maine!

This cute pavilion is also used as an emergency lodge.

A cute sign stating "Bear Right" ahead to visit their roadside stand.

It was a short but nice visit.  There is so much to see outside of Boston.  I'm sure we'll be back in the future to spend more time in these mountains.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Jersey High Point

Montague, New Jersey
Rockview Valley Campground

After leaving Bill and Kelly in Southern New Jersey, we drove north so we could hike the high point.  Good thing I didn't know anything about the Mars Plant on the way in Hackettstown.  We just drove past.  A tour would've been fun though.

According to an article, Mars Incorporated has been churning out M&M's, since 1958. They originally debuted in 1941 and were at first supplied exclusively to the military because of their resistance to heat.

Since the drive wasn't all that long, we stopped behind a small neighborhood in the country to look for a geocache hidden in the woods.  Again, geocaching took us to another really interesting historical spot that we wouldn't otherwise know about.

We chose a private park called Rockview Valley.  It was $35 for W/E on a large grass area.  It was pretty but there were several old, unoccupied trailers parked on other parts of the grassy area.  We stayed in spot #14.  This area is where NJ, NY and MA come together.

The next day we drove off to hike the Monument Trail.  It's a 3 1/2 mile loop trail.  You can drive all the way to the top if you wanted, but we wanted to get a little hike in. 

No bears were spotted on the hike.  It was hot, humid and quiet.  No one else out here but us.

It was also very cloudy so there weren't many views to be had on the way up.

There were many cool mushrooms growing along the way.
Some were very large.
This one was nibbled into a heart shape.
Some tubular fungus.

A little caterpillar taking a rest.

A cute little salamander.

I thought this was funny.  A little off-shoot to the trail would take you over to New York.  I knew we were close.  We won't be hiking NY's high point as we've done that with the kids when we lived there years ago.

Many trails branching off in different directions.  Some are marked for winter sports like snowshoeing, so you had to watch for your trail marks.  We were following the red/green markers.

We were happy to be in the shade of the woods as the clouds started to clear the temperature really picked up and made it even more humid.

More interesting fungus.

Still not much view to see.

We did stop for a little break to pick some yummy berries.

Then you pop out of the woods and there is the monument straight ahead.  I must say, very impressive monument for the High Point of New Jersey!  1803 feet above sea level.  The monument is 220 feet tall.

A close up of the door panels.

Hurley says enough of this hike!  I'm hot and tired!

The clouds parted a bit and we did get a nicer view.

High Point Survey Marker.

Time to head down.

Some pretty flowers on the way down on this side.

There was this rocky spot on the trail to traverse which was a little tricky as it was slippery.

The white hash signifies yet another part of the Appalachian Trail.

Hurley was so happy to get down to the lake.  He ran right in and laid down in the shallow part, just rolling around, happy to cool off.

From the lake looking back up we wondered why we didn't notice the monument when we first started on the trail.  Then we remembered it was foggy when we headed out and you couldn't see much of anything.

In the small Visitor's Center was this map showing the Appalachian Trail from end to end.
We chose a few interesting geocaches to do later on.  One was at a monument at the border of New Jersey and New York.  Pennsylvania is just over the bridge.  This area is referred to as the Tri-State Area.

It was under a bridge next to a very large, interesting cemetery on an island.

Only a short drive over the bridge crossing the Delaware River and you're welcomed to Matamoras, Pennsylvania.

And on the other side of the bridge, Port Jervis, NY.

I had spotted something strange on our drive to the campground and wanted to head back for a better view when it was lighter out.  I just happened to turn my head to the right off the one lane country road we were on and saw these strange eyes looking back at me.
We turned up the road for a closer view.

Pretty creepy, but cool.


Off tomorrow to conquer Massachusetts high point.