Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Summit House, Mount Holyoke

Here's a view of what awaits at the top of Mount Holyoke (the hill, not the college). The Summit House was once a hotel, one of several "mountaintop hotels" in New England... and, trust me, they're using "mountain" in the East Coast sense; elevation=900-something feet. But the base is almost at sea level, I'll give 'em that. There was once a funicular that carried visitors up the (verrrry steep) hill from the Halfway House. You can see the red roof of the HH at the bottom of the photo below.

From the DCR website comes this very Ken Burns-esque notion of Mt. Holyoke:
From the early 1800s, Mt. Holyoke played a significant role in the cultural identity of the United States. The view from the summit – cultivated farm fields, framed by rugged mountain and impenetrable forest – told the story of a young nation transforming itself from wilderness into a civilized landscape. It was this vista that made Mount Holyoke an important tourist destination in those days, second only to Niagara Falls.

I chose an overcast day to make the hike up Mt. Holyoke. And since it was after Columbus Day, the Summit House was closed for the season. But the ladybugs hadn't gotten—or hadn't bothered to heed—their eviction notice. A closer look reveals that every little black speck in all these other photos is actually a ladybug. The place was covered in them.

It was so strange to imagine vacationing up there, once upon a time, at the "top of a mountain" that's actually at a lower elevation than the house in which I live (at 1700 feet or so, for those who like to know those things.) But the view—yes, the view was quite expansive.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hard frost

It seems rather silly to be posting these photos of last week's hard frost now that it's SNOWING here. That's right, snowing. All. Day. Long. Sunday. Like that, the growing season has ended. Nothing left to do but cut down the blackened remnants of another ethereal, ephemeral season. *sigh*. I'm not ready for you, yet, Winter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Greylock Summit

It's a little after the fact, but I wanted to share these photos of the incredible cloud masses and fall color my friend Mary and I found at the summit of Mt. Greylock last week. It was a fantastic hike. I made Mary go waaaaaaay farther than she'd anticipated, but the reward? An incredible view from Stony Ledge, which the last photo only hints at. I love Western Mass in the fall. (plus, how cool is that ceiling in the war memorial tower??)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Things I've Found In the Woods

"Beauty and the Beast"

...which also begat "Beauties and the Beast"

(So, clearly, the Japanese Anemone are not from the woods. But that moldy, phallic mushroom? Straight from the depths of the forest. I certainly did not grow that.)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Things I've Found In the Woods

I'm a collector. In in the woods or in the fields, I'll often pick things up off the ground and stick them in my pocket. There was one hike in particular, I remember I walked home with a dozen large rocks filling every pocket.

Inspired by Mrs. French's new flickr group, I've decided to start documenting the various things I find and feel compelled to keep. Join me here every week to see what new thing or things have caught my eye. And as always, click to enlarge. :)

"Time devours all things" —Ovid