That is really all I can say I am so exhausted after the 45th Greylock Ramble.
I really had no idea it would be such a trek. Last year, I had heard about this event called the Ramble, but didn’t have the opportunity to make the hike.
This year, I decided it was a "can’t miss event."
Perhaps I read the press releases and ads wrong, because I was prepared for a family-friendly stroll up to the summit of Mt. Greylock.
What I got was a gruelling climb, wrought with obstacles. And the entire time waiting for the bus, I was wondering why everyone had walking sticks and ski poles. Rather than thinking, "this is going to be a lot worse than I expect." I thought, "what’s the big deal?"
Yes, I can hear the laughter all the way down here in Pittsfield.
I had been up to the summit before, but of course I drove.
I was even warned beforehand.
"Drive up to the summit and meet people," one co-worker suggested.
"Don’t take too long with it," said another.
Too long? How long could a family-friendly stroll be?
Again, the laughter is deafining, thank you.
It started out easy enough, exactly what I had been expecting. Colorful foliage, a large, rising, yet easily hikable trail. Kids were playing and enjoying the foggy, fall day. Every few minutes a set of hikers would be coming down the mountain.
"Already coming down? This is going to be easy," I said to myself.
Soon, at one off-shoot, a group of hikers, or maybe safety and security types, sat and cheered us on. It was here that the real trail began.
What had been a dry trail so far, soon started to trickle with run off. It was a not unexpected, but coupled with the inclines, I soon started telling myself, "oh, it’s got to be just around the next bend."
Or the next, or maybe the next?
No such luck.
Now, I was a Boy Scout forever. I never made my Eagle, but for me, it was never really about that it was all about getting out into the woods.
I have hiked the Appalachain Trail in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and now Massachusets. None of them were easy treks. But they all had their highs and lows - from the stopping point with the crazy German restaurant to walking through the camp where they filmed the original "Friday the 13th" - they have all been fun.
I guess that’s the only reason I made it to the top yesterday, I was prepared, in an unprepared sort of way.
Had I realized that it would be such a physically demanding hike, I think I would have gone on many more hikes in the late summer/early fall than I did. I have been on a couple since arriving in the Berkshires, but none compared to the rocky, muddy terrain I encountered on Greylock.
It was rewarding. As rewarding as any of my early adventures. Getting to the top and seeing, albeit limitedly due to cloud cover, the War Memorial at the top. I guess the closest I can come, being a Philadelphia native, is feeling like Rocky at the top of the Art Museum steps. Of course, my day was not over, why would it be?
When I had read the signs for the bus back to Adams, for some reason I thought one would pick me up at the top and take me back down.
I know, I know, I hear you laughing at me again.
It was much quicker on the way down, that’s for sure. Although I am pretty sure that’s why my knees have been screaming at me the last couple of days.
I couldn’t help but look with pity at those who were coming up, as I was heading down. I noticed that the younger kids excitement level was directly proportional to the elevation, with much less playful frolicking toward the top. Pets also seemed a little less playful the higher you got.
All in all, it was a challenging and demanding hike. One that I would not hesitate to do again, only I think next time, I’ll prepare a little better, and perhaps leave a little earlier.