Looks like we are going to have snow and a major winter hike!
The exact length and path covered on this hike will depend on the weather and trail conditions but we will gain a few hundred feet of altitude. We generally plan to hike up to the ridge and follow it from a north-east to south-west direction. If there is something like 8 inches or more of snow we will likely snowshoe our way (please bring snowshoes as there may be enough snow, especially on the ridge). We'll hike no more than approximately 7.5 miles with less being the case if conditions require more effort given a 6 hour window for hiking. More than likely we will do around 6 miles. Most of the hike is estimated to be moderate-high in difficulty with some opportunity for high exertion. Streams, forest, and quiet solitude will dominate the hike.
Mt. Tom State Reservation is a little Northwest of Springfield with 2,082 acres with 20 miles of hiking and walking trails; cross country skiing and ice skating on Lake Bray. Mt. Tom boasts an unparalleled view of the Connecticut Valley north and south, the Berkshire mountains to the west and the Pelham hills to the east.
Those who wish to go need to have:
* A daypack - To carry extra layers of clothing, gear, trail food, and water.
* Waterproofed warm hiking boots or comfortable winter boots only
* Wool socks - To keep those feet warm even if wet.
* Layers of clothing - Avoid cotton as it stays wet/cold. Don't forget legs get cold too.
* Gators (or snowpants) - Strongly suggested, to keep snow out of boots and keep legs dry.
* Jacket - BRIGHT color best (white isn't good)
* Hat - 20% of heat lost through head! Protect ears too.
* 2 quarts of water
* Hiking poles (or snowshoe poles) - For better stability
* MicroSpikes (or other traction device) - strongly urged to get through icy areas!
* Trail appropriate food/lunch - (e.g. at least G.O.R.P -Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, beef jerky, granola bars, etc.)
Advised/optional equipment depending on conditions:
* Snowshoes - May help a lot on parts of ridge.
* Fanny sled -for those inclined to fun!
* Headlamp - Just in case
The jacket shouldn't be too heavy as other layers of clothing should add to your insulation to keep warm and layers would be added or removed as needed. While hiking you WILL be hot but if you stop you WILL get very cold after about 15 minutes and thus need more dry layers added. Please note it tends to be windy and sometimes icy on the ridge.
The meetup will be at 9 AM at the parking area at the main entrance by Lake Bray (see the park map). Directions are below. We will hike (with rest stops and sightseeing) about 6 hr. and get back to the vehicles at about 3 PM. Then the plan is to head out to eat an early dinner together. We would finish up eating at about 4:30 PM and head home.
Kevin S can provide carpooling for up to 3 from the Wal-Mart in E. Windsor ***leaving*** at a 8 AM for those interested (see location below). There will be a silver Ford Escape SUV. Please chip in for gas and the drive takes an hour. Return at about 5:30 PM. If no one tells Kevin they wish to carpool, he will not stop at Wal-Mart carpool location.
Approximate location/directions to meet at park parking area (50 Reservation Rd, Holyoke, MA):
Location/directions for the carpool meeting location (Wal-Mart, 69 Prospect Hill Rd, East Windsor, CT):
Mt. Tom State Reservation information:
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