Friday, October 15, 2010

October Mountain: Plugging ourselves in to nature for a recharge

So, yesterday you spent over twelve hours in a cramped SUV with two kids, your husband, mother-in-law and two frustrating Tom-Tom GPS's that didn't seem to agree on which route you should be taking. It was a L-O-N-G trip. Today you wake up in the hotel (with hubby and kids, M.I.L. got her own room!) with a sore back and not much sleep, and you have one of your best friends weddings to go to at 1pm that afternoon.

What do you do for the next few hours?

Watch some TV, relax, grab some breakfast at the pathetic continental spread in the lobby. Maybe have a short drive around the cute little town to see what's there and grab a light lunch.

Yep, that's what 'normal' people would probably do.

Fortunately for me, I'm not 'normal.'

Early fall in the the Berkshire Mountains near Lenox, MA

First, I wasn't driving all the way up to the Berkshires only to look at the scenery from the car window. Second, I knew that I'd be on the brink of going stir-crazy after such a long trip in such a small vehicle. Third, well, what would you expect two highly active little boys to act like at a wedding after a day in a car and a morning in a hotel room? Sitting still and quiet would NOT be on their to-do list for the afternoon, I can assure you of that.

So a little pre-trip planning gave me a lot of choices for a quick morning adventure. I printed off the info and directions to a few before we left and chose October Mountain State Park the night before, mostly becuase it was close and had such an imagination-inspiring lovely name! Saturday morning we awoke, packed our day packs, strapped on our hiking boots and proceeded to have an incredibly lovely day.

To my surprise and to my kids pleasure, there was another perk to going to October Mountain. The Massachussets State Park system offers a free passport book for kids which they can stamp at every park they visit using a special stamp located near the offices. The boys were thrilled to unlock the box and stamp their new books, and I was thrilled to have a very nice and FREE momento of our trip. And who knows, maybe sometime we'll go back and can get more stamps from other parks!

Our hike was fantastic. The autumn colors were beautiful, the park was lovely, and the trail was exactly what the boys and I needed to recharge ourselves and get back into a good mood after all the crankiness in the car. I opted for hiking part of a trail out-and-back for a total of only about 1.5 miles. We couldn't be late for the wedding! We took our time playing on rocks and in streams and generally having a wonderful time in the woods.

After making it to a set of small cascading waterfalls and racing many sticks and yellow leaves down the natural water slides, we turned around to head back to the campground where we were parked. The kids didn't want to go, but even a outdoorsy-girl like me needs lots of time to primp and try to make myself look fabulous for a wedding. My oldest asked if we could do another hike after the wedding. I could not have been happier with their enthusiasm, even though I knew it'd be too late by then to do so. October Mountain was the perfect way to get outside and have at least one small experience in the beauty of fall in New England.

Family shot while taking a break on the trail.

Getting ready to send that leaf on a ride down the cascades.

The little falls and the park and the trails were all beautiful.

My Jr Explorer and future hiking guru.

Our one and only Massachussets State Park stamp... for now at least.

(P.S. - Where was my hubby? Off doing his Best man duties with the groom of course!)


  1. That looks so beautiful! I love hiking in new places when everything is a surprise.

  2. What a wonderful place to play outdoors! I love that your oldest wanted to come back & hike later - proof how much kids need time to explore & enjoy nature.

  3. Looks gorgeous. Did MIL go do mother-of-the-groom stuff?

  4. Looks wonderful... I have enjoyed reading your blog....

  5. Awesome blog...I love the title and look forward to reading more...Very cool...Keep Smiling


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