Bartholomew’s Cobble and Bash Bish

This weekend’s trip was to the Berkshires. We started with Bartholomew’s Cobble, a place we’ve both been wanting to cross off the list for a while. It’s definitely out of the way if you’re driving from the Boston area, and you should probably get an earlier start than we did. But it was definitely worth the drive.

You won’t have an epic hike here, just a ramble through a wide variety of terrains. The cobbles it’s named after are two rocky knolls that you’ll circle if you take the Ledge Trail (we followed the instructions we were given at the visitor’s center for the best all-around tour of the place). After you leave the cobbles, you’ll end up seeing the sort of farmland that used to dominate the area.

Soon you’ll come to a very tall Cottonwood Tree. There are two giant trees on this property, a Cottonwood and a Tulip Tree. One is the largest in MA, and the other is the second largest (each of its respective variety). I can’t remember which is the largest and which the second. But they’re both very large trees.

Not pictured is the pasture we walked out into for our picnic lunch of banh mi (that’s becoming a habit). We watched hawks and vultures hunting overhead, and even a Bald Eagle (I didn’t point it out fast enough for Yen to switch lenses and get a shot of it; “This is why I need two cameras!” he always moans while swapping lenses.).

Ah, here’s the aforementioned Tulip Tree.

Fall is at peak in this area. We will have to go farther south next weekend when David is here if we want to show him leaves. But notice the short sleeves I’m wearing. Somehow it was in the low 70s on Saturday. Terrific weather.

All of the trails are slowly leading you to the big pay-off in the end. You emerge from the trees and see a long pasture ahead of you. It slopes up – way up. You have to just keep climbing and not think about what you’re doing and how hard your heart is racing. Because when you finally get to the top, you’ll be well rewarded.

See those trees behind me? They’re in Connecticut! Yep, this is that far south.

It was getting toward sunset, and we thought we might have dinner plans, so we set off down the hill again. It took us a long while to get to the bottom because we really didn’t want to leave the view.

We spent the night at a ski resort in Hancock. It’s not really noteworthy except that I’m not sure I’d stay there again. It’s designed for longterm visits that include bringing up loads of groceries and settling in. Not a single restaurant of any sort on the property. We ended up driving all the way to Williamstown for what the locals think is Thai food.

But no complaining! Staying in the area meant we got an early start, and got to see scenes like this in the nice morning light.

We stopped for breakfast at a cash-only joint full of men in camouflage (“Uh oh! Somethin’s gonna die!”), then made our way to Copake Falls, where there’s nary a fall in sight. It’s pretty, though.

After that, on down the road to Bash Bish Falls, which signs proclaim is the “most spectacular falls in Massachusetts.” We debated this and agreed that we don’t think it’s so. It’s very nice, but I think Royalston is still the winner so far.

Bash Bish loses points by being so damned accessible. We started taking a few photos but quickly gave up when the place was suddenly invaded by people who clearly were outdoors for the first time in weeks.

We set off to find the South Taconic Trail and do some real hiking.

See me down there, the little speck? What you can’t tell from this distance is what an utter baby I’m being. The trail wasn’t really that challenging, and we hadn’t gone far at all when I began to play that mental game I sometimes do. I got myself into this strange worried, defeated place where I was utterly convinced that I had to save energy for the trip back down again, and we really needed to turn back. Yen tried to keep my spirit up, but I think I’d just gone to the dark side. It was pathetic.

On the other hand, look what was waiting when we got partway up.

We settled in for a snack and some rest. We both figured I’d feel better afterward.

You’d think this view would rejuvenate anyone, right?

But now there’s an absence of photos because we climbed another 15 minutes up before I just couldn’t take it anymore and demanded we head down. Yen stopped off along the way and ordered me to just keep moving. I went as fast as I could but still only beat the Constant Photographer by a few minutes. David is coming up next weekend, and I hereby swear that this won’t happen again, that I will Bring It.

Back on relatively flat land again, we enjoyed the scenery again.

Returning to the falls, we found we had the place to ourselves. Yen settled in for a lot of photos.

At last we had to leave – it was more than two hours to get back home again. As we wound our way through New York, we were treated to a really wonderful sunset. Wish you could have seen the way this looked when the sun burst through the clouds and rays shot everywhere. But that’s what makes the sun so difficult and pesky: it’s always moving along and disappearing into the next day ahead of you. Better keep up.