Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chapel Brook Hiking

I was WAAAAYYYY overdue for some outdoor activity, besides cutting and splitting wood.  Thankfully a conversation with my buddy Dave resulted in the mutual decision that we've been working hard and it's time to get back outdoors and enjoy ourselves.  I had every intention to finally go to Purgatory Chasm until I found out they close the caves in the winter because of ice.  What a world we live in that we have to be protected from ourselves.  That's a conversation for another day though.  I have recently been looking more and more at trails owned and maintained from The Trustees of Reservations.  We decided to go to Chapel Brook to hike up Pony Mountain and to walk down the brook and look at the falls.  

We made the trek out to Ashfield, MA and parked at the trailhead in the late morning.  The weather was fantastic for a December day.  It was clear, calm, and in the upper 30s.  As we walked up to the main section the first thing that we noticed was the incredible rock faces that are there.  There was a spot you can actually climb up if you didn't want to hike.  I'm not a climber but if I were I'd certainly give it a shot.  There isn't a trail map located on their website and as luck would have it there wasn't any to take at the trailhead.  Thankfully they had a large version behind glass we could look at, it's a small area so there were basically two trails to get to the top.  We took the Summit Trail up to the top.  The Summit Trail loops around the rock face and comes in from the back.  Once we got to the top we got to look out over the surrounding communities and we investigated the climbing section.  We decided to take the Ledge trail down which was a steeper trail that followed the rock face all the way down.  The hike was shorter than expected, around 2 miles, so we unloaded our packs and went across the street to follow Chapel Brook to the various falls.  Of course I tried to scout the area for Trout, but didn't see much.  I saw what I thought was a fry (baby fish) but that was it.  I saw quite a fool pools that LOOK like they could have held Trout but who knows these days.  

For more info on Chapel Brook click here.

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