People have been asking me what surprised me most about our walk. My stock answer so far has been honest: So much.
But over the days since we reached the Connecticut border, I’ve been slowly finding the words to answer that question a little better.
What surprised me?
The variation in the woods. We walked through so many woods, and the trees changed from moment to moment. The seemingly endless varieties of ferns and moss surprised me over and over. The way the woods held certain light, and shut out others.
The mountains surprised me, mostly because I was able to see that the county is shaped and influenced by the mountains around us. Every step we took was up, away from, or towards a mountain. We were always using Mt. Greylock as our North Star, but then grounding ourselves with the view of Monument Mountain, October Mountain, and so many others. And the more time we spent delving into the history of the Berkshires, the more I realized that the mountains have always dominated the experience and art of the people here.
I was surprised but the fact that even though I am always late when I’m traveling by car, I was always on time when I was traveling on foot. Sometimes we’d walk 6 or 7 hours in the day, and I’d let someone know we’d meet them at 2, and without even trying, we’d stroll up exactly at 2. It made me think I should walk to where I’m going a little more often.
I learned that any mood I’m in can be turned around by a well-timed cocktail or picnic (or both),
that I love cemeteries the most,
and that the best roadside views are paired with the long stretches of highway I dread the most when I’m driving them.
I was haunted a lot more by Melville and Wharton and Thoreau than I expected.
And I loved North County. I’ve never loved North County.
Honestly when we came to the end, I could have kept going. I loved it. I really loved it.
I’ll pop in soon with a more detailed description of what we did and where we ate soon, and then it will be back to regularly scheduled programming around here. Happy weekend, and Happy August, too. xo
I was following along on Instagram and loved the beautiful narratives accompanying some of the photos. Just wanted to tell you that after this walk, I am kind of primed to read your three interrelated novellas — one about the land, one about the food and one about you and Joey. That would be one beautiful book.
Thanks for sharing your walk. Monica
Oh Monica! I kind of LOVE this. I might have to add it to my books to write one day list…
Margit Van Schaick says
Enchanting photos beckoning us all to engage inthe WALK. The spirit of the land just breathes off the page! Look forward to reading more.
Thank you, Margit!
Emma Bland Smith says
Lovely, lovely! My husband and I used to do multi-day walks like this and I just loved them! Then we had kids. Now we have to wait till the kids are older… Two years ago (leaving the kids with Grandma) we did an exhilarating two-day walk in the Marin Headlands, sleeping at the Pelican Inn. I highly recommend it. And about a decade ago we did a two day, 40-mile walk along the Hudson River, from Manhattan to Bear Mountain (Manitou). So fun! I find these sorts of treks are easier to do in Europe, where walking trails commonly go through towns, not just in state parks. I’m glad you managed to do it here and I’d love to copy yours one day!
Oh Marin! A walk through the bay area would be amazing, although it’s true- Europe is so much better at facilitating this kind of walk. But it was easier than I thought, especially with the miracle of google maps 🙂
Emily @ Relishments says
What a beautiful post! I enjoyed following along with your walk, a little enviously. I’m so glad to live in the Berkshires and I’m glad that you came to love the Northern Berkshires — I feel like I’m forever trying to share why the area is so great.
Thank you, Emily! I’ve got to say- the North was my favorite, mostly because as someone who grew up in Great Barrington and Monterey- it always seems so “other”. Do you feel that way about the southern Berkshires? But there was something about walking through it and spending more time there that both helped me appreciate the division and be excited to spend so much more time there. Planning a Lanesborough day as we speak…
Rachel @ 6512 and growing says
This is just fabulous, to make a dream happen, despite all the things that could easily get in the way. Congratulations.
Thank you, Rachel. It did feel like such an impossible thing! And there’s something about making an impossible thing possible- it’s hard not to feel optimistic through it all.
As someone who just stumbled onto your blog by accident, I was absolutely delighted to see this post. I grew up in Northern Berkshire and absolutely love it. It took moving away from the area to really appreciate it’s beauty when I go home.
Oh, I’m so glad! There’s nothing like the Northern Berkshires. It was such a gift to get to experience it this way.