View Full Version : Mt. Greylock - 04/03 - 04/05

04-07-2009, 08:53 AM
An old friend from Peace Corps who lives in Minnesota, and I, have a bi-annual backpacking trip. This year, he had to travel earlier than usual, so we chose southern New England over points north. Nevertheless, we had a challenging weekend on Greylock.

We left the car at Hopper Road on Friday afternoon. We hiked up to the campground in the rain and set up camp in one of the shelters. It was too wet to enjoy a fire, so we simply ate, chatted and slept in our damp bags.

On Saturday morning, we got up early and got ready for our hike. Our plan was to drop down the Hopper to the Money Brook Trail, then up over Mt. Prospect, pick up the AT over William and Fitch and on to Greylock, then dropping back down to the campground. There were ice crystals in the air when we left at 7:30, and by 8:00, light snow was falling. The Hopper was fine, but there were some tricky crossings of Money Brook, which was full and fast. The climb up Prospect was long and by the time we reached the top, the snow was falling faster and the wind had picked up. We dropped down to the Wilbur Shelter, where we had some lunch. We picked up the AT, crossed the paved summit road and headed up Mt. William. There were blowdowns from the December ice storm every 20 feet or so. That storm caused major damage. As we climbed higher, we encountered more packed snow left from winter. The snow and wind also picked up. The blowdowns combined with the snow made it difficult at times to find the white blazes and to stay on the trail.

There was more packed snow as we went up over Fitch and then Greylock. At the summit, there were at least six inches of snow and very strong winds. We did not linger for long and picked up the Hopper Trail to had back to the campground. The Hopper Trail was covered with snow and was icy. We ran into two young men - one in a hoodie and sneakers - drinking large bottles of beer and heading up toward the cold and windy summit. (we saw only two other hikers: a father and son having lunch in the Thunderbolt shelter).

We were back at the campground around 4:30. The temperature dropped into the 20's on Saturday night, and it was very windy and continued to snow. We spent a cold night in the shelter. My 20 degree bag was not up to the task.

Sunday morning was sunny but still cold. We headed out early. As we hiked down, conditions grew much milder and when we reached the car, the snow at the bottom had all but melted and a beautiful Spring day was emerging.