Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rattlesnake Knob and Baby Carriage Brook

Happy New Year from Rattlesnake Knob and Baby Carriage Brook on the Holyoke Range in Amherst, Massachusetts.

It's just a one-hour (at a brisk pace with two dogs) round trip hike that starts a short distance from my parents homestead, so I do it often. The trail ascends through beautiful oak-beech woodlands to a saddle between Long Mountain and Mt. Norwottuck, the highest mountain in the Holyoke Range.
The final climb to Rattlesnake Knob is a steep ascent that ends in two excellent views--one east to Long Mountain and the other north into the Town of Amherst.
The short spur trail that I took meets the 114-mile Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. I have yet to tackle the whole route.
Baby Carriage Brook is a lovely mountain stream that flows along a portion of the trail (or more appropriately stated the trail follows alongside the brook for a bit.). The water is clear and cold and laughing as it wanders through the woods down the mountain slope. In spring its banks are dotted with skunk cabbage, ferns, and false hellebore.
The only clear indications that it is winter and New Year's Day, was the temperature, which hovered around 28 degrees Fahrenheit and also the ground was frozen enough to make for easy hiking. A slight breeze, blue sky, sweet clear air: a refreshing and wonderful start to 2015.

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