Hike of Mt. Tom State Reservation

Holyoke, MA

Saturday November 19th, 2005

Hitting the trail Twelve of us began our hike of Mt. Tom State Reservation on a sunny but chilly Saturday morning. With temperatures in the 30s, we would be traveling over a variety of terrain on our 7-mile hike to the 1202 foot summit of Mt. Tom and back.

Incline We started at the shore of Lake Bray where the hiking was very easy, but soon found ourselves on a steady ascent along the Keystone Trail. Alisa and Lingyan make their way up the hill, with Kate and Namita right behind them.

Courtney, Steph, and Lana It wasn't long before we worked up a sweat. Courtney, Steph and Lana stop to remove a layer or two.

Nature Trail Traffic jam on the switchback: Descending from a hilltop on the Nature Trail, we proceed single file down the narrow path and around the bend.

Lunch break The Nature Trail brought us to the Metacomet-Modnock Trail, a 117 mile trail extending from the Massachusetts-Connecticut border to New Hampshire's Mt. Monadnock. We would follow this trail southward along a ridge for about 2 miles to the Mt. Tom summit, stopping for lunch at a scenic point near Whiting Peak.

View to the north From an outcrop further up the trail, the Connecticut River Oxbow was clearly visible to the northeast beyond the pines and basalt cliffs.
Mt. Tom's landmark basalt tower, formed 200 million years ago by lava flows and shaved by glaciers 12,000 years ago, could be seen from another of the trail's vistas; while the town of Easthampton lay below. Basalt tower
View of Easthampton

Group photo at summit We arrived at the summit at 1:45PM, about 3 hours after beginning our hike and about 1000 feet higher in elevation. Our route back down would be shorter and faster, taking us little more than an hour and a half.

Descent from summit Our descent backtracked along the Metacomet-Monadnock trail. Much of this trail is blazed on a series of rock ledges which we needed to climb up and down. The climbing was not too difficult because the fractured rock surfaces provided ample footholds, but there were some pockets of ice which we needed to be wary of.

Carly Kate, Steph and Namita

Carly carefully works her way down a rocky section of the Metacomet-Monadnock trail.

Back on less challenging terrain, Kate, Steph and Namita hike down the Quarry Trail with Carly, Alisa, Lingyan and Chih Wei behind them.

Lingyan, Elizabeth, Shannon and Lana On the Kay Bee trail, Lingyan, Elizabeth, Shannon and Lana wait for the rest of the group to catch up.

Stone bridge over Cascade Brook The last few steps: Lingyan, Alisa, Carly and Steph cross over Cascade Brook on the road to our parking area.

Zzzzz... Sometimes you just can't get enough of a good thing. On the ride home, we were all still full of energy and ready to tackle another mountain.

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