The Appalachian Trail slashes up through the western portion of the state of Massachusetts. I was hoping I was going to be close to Boston on the way to Maine, but I am about as far away from Boston as I can be and still be in Massachusetts. The trail leads the thru-hiker across 90 miles of the state (NOBO mille 1502.9-1592.4). The trail travels through the Taconic and the Berkshire Mountains. The two highest peaks serve as book ends to the state. Mt. Everett greets the hiker at mile marker 1508 at 2,602 feet and Mt. Greylock waves goodbye to the journeyman at mile 1583 at 3,491 (the highest point anywhere in the state). In between summits are lots of ups and downs as the A.T. passes through several small New England towns making resupply fairly easy.
Researching this section of the A.T. has revealed several points of interest including some trail magic, a special farm, and an institute of higher learning. Let’s take a hike and observe as we walk. Shortly after crossing the Connecticut/Massachusetts border we arrive at Mt. Everett (not to be confused with Mt. Everest). About 7 miles from the summit we will come to Route 7 and 3 miles off the trail to the east we would discover the community of Sheffield, MA. If we would choose to take this side adventure (which is not on my agenda) we could visit a very unique school – the Moon in the Pond Farm School, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches the value of sustainable farming.
According to the school’s website (http://mooninthepond.com/), “Moon In The Pond is a small farm nestled on a quiet and picturesque dirt road in the southern Berkshire hills in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Raising food naturally and sharing the experience has been a strong and growing commitment throughout the farm’s 15-year history. Farmer Dominic Palumbo invites you to rediscover your agricultural roots with some of our great farm meats, a tour of the farm, or by participation in our short or longer-term workshops, internships, and programs. Moon In The Pond maintains a strong focus on the elegant integration of history (raising heritage breed livestock and heirloom vegetables, using select traditional farming methods) and contemporary ‘technology.’”
The two-hour tour would cover topics like farm language; natural resource conservation; heritage breeds; the when, what, where, how and why of food; our culture, history and how agriculture has informed it; animal names/nomenclature; nutrition; the emotion, compassion, intelligence, intuition, and instinct of animal and human; and the value and cost of food production. The school was going through some financial difficulties in 2011 so I am not sure of its current operation but it is still mentioned in the 2013 A.T. Guide. If it were a little closer to the trail, I’d love to spend a few hours checking it out.
That’s the first point of interest. The next blog about Massachusetts will highlight Guido’s Market, The Cookie Lady, and Thomas Lavardi.
Photo of Mt Everett http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Everett