Just picture it… Multi-hued palm trees and walking along the beach with a cool wind of 85+ degrees? (Gotcha!)
I bet you are reading the title and scratching your head right about now and wondering if I’ve gone off my rocker and hit my head…
Autumn route for foliage viewingIn this weeks route snapshot we’re going to Florida, (Massachusetts) where we are going to drive a short piece of the historic Route 2, better known as the Mohawk Trail. This trail is a long one for me since I travel down Route 95 to Route 2 near Lexington and Concord and then I travel Route 2 the rest of the way. (Yes it would be faster to drive Route 90 to the Mass border but where’s the fun in that?)
Have you picked up your DeLorme map books yet?
One of the reasons that I depend on these books is that they show the terrain elevations and even if you’re not an accomplished orienteer who can read and understand terrain elevation maps, most folks can tell from the pictures where the peaks and valleys are.
There is a small section of the Mohawk Trail that passes through the Mohawk Trail State Forest. If you’re coming from the East you will pass through Greenfield Mass. and just as you cross Route 91 you will start to head up into a hilly region and in the 2nd week of October this initial area which crosses through Shelburne, Shelburne Falls, and passes south of catamount state forest. All of this hilly region is ripe with possibilities for peak fall foliage.
When the conditions are right, I like to drive through narrow valleys with high sides that are covered in trees.As you can see from the map above, shortly after you drive through Charlemont, you will come to the edge of the Mohawk Trail State Forest.
The Mohawk Trail runs next to the cold River which winds its way through the valley. The steep valley walls peak out between 1600 and 2000 feet. [*Note: when you look at a terrain map and you see that the contour lines are very close together it indicates how steep the sides of the hill far above the valley]One of the nice things about this stretch of road is that the road planners took into consideration the desires of people to want to stop and get out of their cars, to view the scenery. So if you don’t see a pullout on the right or left, don’t panic they will be coming up shortly.
What I really enjoy is seeing walls of color and most of these valley walls seem to be covered in deciduous trees that provide a wonderful tapestry of color.
There are lots of side roads which provide endless possibilities for exploring back roads off of the Mohawk Trail. Make sure you have a good map book and possibly a GPS and don’t hesitate to get off the road most traveled. Then go and see what’s on the other side of those hills.