Estimated distance: 2.75 miles Peaked Mountain Tract + 1.95 miles Miller Forest Tract
Weather: 72°F, sunny with high clouds
Resources: Trustees of Reservations - Peaked Mountain, Map
Highlights of the trip: expansive views
Progress toward 2016 hiking goals: 43/52 hikes; 161.27/250 miles; 31.37/25 miles on Tunxis Trail
First, a pronunciation lesson. My Pennsylvania-raised husband thinks Massachusetts has some crazy pronunciations (like he can talk - Uwchlan and Bala Cynwyd are but two examples). He would cite Haverhill, Scituate, and the one that really sticks in my craw when they mispronounce it on TV, Concord. However, in this case, I had to be corrected, too.
Monson is pronounced Munson and Peaked is pronounced Pea-kid. Surprisingly, it is Monson that I have the harder time with.
But, enough of the lesson and on to the hike!
|Trustees of Reservations Peaked Mountain Trail Map|
I joined my friend and her geocaching husband for this trip. I tried to get my husband to join us, but in the end, it was probably better that he didn't go, as he would have been sorely disappointed - not with the hike, but on missing out on getting any beer at Tree House Brewing. I'll explain later.
As you can see from the map above, the Trustees Peaked Mountain property is divided into two tracts, both on Butler road about a mile apart. We started with the more difficult Peaked Mountain Tract and then did the easier Miller Forest Tract.
There were quite a few cars in the parking lot for Peaked Mountain, but still plenty of room. I would guess the parking lot could hold at least 20 cars. Note: No bathroom facilities at either location. Not a problem for the many locals who walk their dogs here, but it would have been nice to have a port-a-potty for those of us who had traveled an hour to get here.
The trails are very well marked and, where they crossed, had a number and a trail map on a post indicating your location. Nice. We took the red trail, Roslyn's Turnpike, up to the West Rock Trail and turned right. This is also blazed red and takes you around to the west-facing Valley View overlook that gives you a glimpse of Springfield in the distance.
|Springfield just to the right of center.|
The red trail is now called Valley View and starts to climb more steeply as it approaches the top of Peaked Mountain.
A little over one mile from the parking lot, you are treated to an absolutely spectacular view. It is hard to tell in the picture below, but Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire was visible just to the left of where the tree pokes above the horizon. We could also see Wachusett Mountain to the right, way in the distance.
|Imagine this in the fall!|
We had a nice chat with a couple from Boston who were interested in hearing about the geocaching that my friend's husband was doing. I think he found most of the caches he was looking for today.
As you step from the viewpoint back into the woods, there is a nicely crafted little mailbox with a log book. The book is completely full, so hopefully some kind soul will provide a new one.
We completed our hike of the Peaked Mountain Tract by going down Ruth's Mountain Trail (orange) and on to Orchard Trail and Skid Row back to Roslyn's Turnpike and our car. This seems to be a popular place to hike, but I didn't find it too crowded even on this spectacular day.
We then drove north on Butler Road to the Miller Forest Tract. This hike was shorter and flatter, but had a nice walk through the woods and around the pond. It was very pretty.
We met what I assume were a father and son with their fishing poles. The stream was pretty low, so they ended up having to go over to the pond.
|Stream was pretty low.|
|I bet this is really pretty when the leaves turn.|
After this hike, we headed over to Tree House Brewing arriving just moments too late. When we got there, there were only eight 8-packs left, and there were more than eight people in line. Not many more, but enough that we knew we were out of luck. My husband would have been sorely disappointed to have been so close and miss out, so it was probably better that he hadn't joined us. (They have a twitter account, but we had zero service where we were, so we had no way of knowing how much beer was left).
We went up the road to Westview Farms Creamery. This is the place my friend picks her pumpkins. I was looking at the fields. They are full of weeds! Tall weeds. I asked and she said that that is part of the fun, hunting through the weeds, only your head visible to the others, as you find the perfect pumpkin.
The creamery seems to be popular for families with young children. They have goats you can feed and a little play area. In addition to ice cream, they also serve hamburgers, fries, and the like. I did not have anything today, but I would think it would be a great place to grab an ice cream and sit and take in the absolutely tremendous view!
Little Monson has a lot to offer. I will definitely be back!