Posts Tagged ‘Whiting Street Reservoir’

Carl, Eleni and Frankie pose in front of a pine tree cathedral.

Carl, Eleni and Frankie pose in front of a pine tree cathedral.

Happy Spring! It was snowing when Spring officially started as well as Saturday, the first full day of Spring.

But it did finally change for the better. Not liking to stand still, I got Frankie, Eleni and Carl to join Scout and I for a walk. After stopping at Nick’s Nest for a hot dog, I drove over to the old Mt. Tom ski entrance. around Whiting Street Reservoir and along the Mt. Tom ski area.

The Whiting Street Reservoir and Mt. Tom behind it.

The Whiting Street Reservoir and Mt. Tom behind it.

Back 25 years ago, I was skiing here at Mt. Tom. Before that I was going to Mountain Park (drive past the ski area) with my parents to go on the amusement park’s rides. Before that, my father used to come to Mountain Park to dance to the big bands. (He was quite a dancer!) Now at least they hold summer concerts here near the entrance.

We cut along an access road and entered a forest of tall pines. It seemed like we were passing through a cathedral as we entered the path around the reservoir. After walking around partway, we took a right onto an access path and walked towards the old Mt. Tom ski area. I pointed out the old trails, and the old wave pool that got Eleni’s interest. Then Carl and her saw the old ski lodge and decided to do a little investigating. They were fascinated by the graffiti decorating the walls inside and out.

The old Mt. Tom ski area.

The old Mt. Tom ski area.

When they all emerged from behind the buildings, I told them some family history…of how I came here skiing, about the amusement park called Mountain Park where I played and my dad danced.

Then we too a look at the massive quarry. After the ski area closed in the late 90’s the owners started excavating the quarry. Looking into it the size seemed intimidating. The day was finally warming up and I could here icicles breaking off the walls and small rocks tumbling down the sides. Eleni and Scout walked down and I followed behind. She seemed swallowed up by the size of the place. The rocks were being heated by the sun making it much warmed inside the large bowl.

Carl, Eleni and Frankie in front of the Mt. Tom quarry.

Carl, Eleni and Frankie in front of the Mt. Tom quarry.

Eleni descends into the quarry with Scout.

Eleni descends into the quarry with Scout.

My words echoed off the walls as I called her and Scout to come back up. There was no danger but the cracking ice and trickling stones just made me nervous. The kids were enjoying themselves and Eleni especially.

I brought them to a trail that climbs far around the rim of the quarry before going up towards the ridge at the top of the ski area. I didn’t get too far before the kids convinced me to turn around. I was tired of slipping on patches of ice hidden by the recent snowfall anyhow.

We circled back past the ski lodge and I had one more look at the old ski lodge. I wished of getting rich so I could resurrect the old ski area.

Joined by Ron, Mike 10 (for half the ride) and Scott, we were traveling from the Elks in Holyoke to Mt. Tom and back. It’s a pretty epic ride with hill after hill. These are complimented though by view after view. With fall at its best, we were looking forward to each effort. It doesn’t get much harder than this ride.

See Sunday, October 27, 2013 Ride

10-27-13

We brought Scott along for one of our hardest rides. He doesn’t always get to join us but chose well this time (or did he?).

From the Elks, we traveled into Ashley Reservoir and quickly took the quickest route across 202 to the Pipeline and Trolley Trail. We followed the trails past the Holyoke Gun Club and to our first hard climb up to a great view.

This trail up here is a newer one and a favorite. It led us along the white dotted M&M trail and to our left turn to route 141. Mike 10 left us here following the trails back.

Our bikes followed the rollercoaster trail down to the main road. Crossing to Whiting Street Reservoir, we came out of the trees to a spectacular view of Mt. Tom. This was the only break we would get as we circled half way around the water.

A trail leads up off the oval track around the reservoir. From there we pass a transformer at the road, follow that road past the closed quarry, and circle around to the access trail.

It’s just up now for a bit. In the beginning from this point I start to feel this is a mistake, but the trail slowly becomes manageable. Still it’s a “heartbreaker” as I called it earlier to Scott. He sees the wisdom in that as we all reach our breaking point at one point or another. I found that whoever excelled over the others at one point, fell behind up ahead. Each of us seemed to leapfrog over the other up the steep hills.

We took a left onto a red marked trail. We are traversing across the mountain at this point with much less climbing but with plenty of small challenges. After crossing a stream, we climb hard once again to the ridge. If anyone was due for a heart attack, here is where it would happen (hence the term “heartbreaker”).

This is more fun than you think!

As we round the bend, we are at that breaking point and pushing it forward a little. I see our left up ahead and make my way along some rocks before resting. Ron passes me by this time—it was his turn to leapfrog. Scott comes up behind suffering and smiling at the same time.

The right turn onto the ridge trail was a welcome relief. Cleaning the short trail to the ridge, we turn left and follow the edge. The view is appearing brilliantly between the trees and soon it opens up. There are some walk arounds up here but again, TOTALLY WORTH IT. We follow it just far enough before descending down the old ski trail.

Getting back is faster than you’d think. Still it’s hard. Taking a wrong turn (sort of), we do one more ridge before hitting the Pipeline trail and back towards 202 and the cars. As hard as it was, I felt sorry for everyone else in the world.