Sunday, October 11, 2015

Old Favorites and New Friends: October Lights in the Berkshires

            Some new friends in the Berkshires. No, not the cows; we met them lying down on the job in a sunny pasture along the Housatonic. Though you can tell by the name tags on the ears that somebody loves them.

            In our yearly visit to this area, the homeland of autumn in the annual calendar of our lives, we returned, like a migratory species, to the favorite places we visit each fall. The blue river in the second photo is the slow-winding Housatonic River that coils through the Trustees of Reservations property named  Bartholomew's Cobble in Sheffield. At the end of a tour of the cobble (a low, thickly wooded hill featuring limestone walls with shallow caves), the path along the river, a good stare up at the second oldest cottonwood tree in the state of Massachusetts, a hike through a wooded path named after a singular tulip tree (not sure how high in the charts this tree rates), we confront a long, gentle ascent through a green pasture to the top of Hurlburt Hill. From there we have a view of the Berkshire hills to the north, east and west (third photo down).
            October is migratory season for hawks. We always see some floating on the warm updrafts from the sun-warmed hills.
            No photos here of the hawks. However, to make up for that oversight, some views of our old and new companions on this seasonal ritual are pictured here, gathered at the summit for a timer-setting group-selfie engineered by Sonya's companion Mourad. Even if several of us (Saul, Anne, partially me) have apparently gone over to the dark side. (Fourth photo)
            The next day took us to Kennedy Park. That's Anne, Saul and Emma (Saul's friend) inspecting the map of the superb wooded, trailed, and mapped Lenox park (sixth photo). From a prospect created by the power line cut, we look down on farmhouse far below (eighth photo).
            Our next stop, known as the 'overlook,' from which we can see Mount Greylock to the north, led to photo opportunities from the shed-like structure which overlooks the thickly treed hills that now hide most of the summits on the horizon. Photos were taken here: Sonya and Mourad (second from last photo). Emma and Saul (fifth photo down).
            From there we hike to "the little pond" that stands as our icon for autumn peace. The pond has suffered incursions by beavers, who dragged some downed tree trunks and branches for a lodge that failed. And the water was low this year. But the surface still gives beautiful reflections of October trees (seventh photo).
            We did some more other, modest hikes as the weather grew milder and the autumn color grew stronger each day. Some wild turkeys took advantage of the fine weather to cross the cottage driveway. We counted about fifteen all told, but I could never get my camera to work fast enough to catch more than a couple in a frame (bottom photo).

            In the end, packed up for a fond farewell, we sat on the deck of the Stockbridge cottage and took another group selfie. (Not to be confused with the turkeys.)