Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mount Greylock, The Thunderbolt Ski Run

There is barely any snow on the ground as we leave New York and enter Massachusetts.  We can just go for a hike if the snow situation doesn't work out, Kyle and I agree.  Leaving the snowshoes in the car, we set off on foot from the parking area off of Gould Road at 8:35.  The goal of the day is to hike up to the summit of Mt. Greylock and ski/ride down The Thunderbolt Trail, which was cut in 1934 by the 107th Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Leaving the car and starting off on foot.
Getting hot, ditching layers.
Hiking up past The Steps we encounter two hikers with a dog and engage in conversation.  The guy tells us that he is sorry for the bad news, but we'll probably have to end up hiking down most of the trail due to the snow conditions.  We'll see about that.  Two skiers passed us just as we began hiking and said the snow at the bottom was the best on the entire run, and even that was marginal.

Looking down "The Steps".
A dozen wind turbines in the distance.
After two hours of consistent upwards movement we make it to the summit, home of The Thunderbolt Ski Shelter and The Veterans War Memorial Tower.  Stopping in the shelter, a surprisingly nice cabin with plenty of benches and four wood stoves, we are greeted by four other hikers and their dogs.  Drink coffee, eat turkey chili, off we go.  It started snowing and the wind picked up just as we entered the shelter.  Looks like the conditions are getting better.

Kyle dropping in The Big Bend.
More steep and rocky terrain on The Big Bend.
Instead of following The Thunderbolt the entire way down and dealing with some uphill sections that would not be pleasant on a snowboard or unwaxed skis, we use some beta given from the hikers on the way up and take a right at the "four corners" onto a trail marked for mountain bikes.  This is supposed to run parallel to The Thunderbolt while avoiding any need to go uphill.

Heading down, the trail narrows.

We take a break to explore the old lift towers from the failed attempt to establish a ski resort in the 1970s.  Signs point us in the direction towards Gould Road and I only need to unstrap my snowboard a couple times on long flat sections traversing back left across the mountain.

Checking out the lifts and stretching out our legs.
Part snow, part grass, part mud.

A little wet and muddy.
Following snowmobile tracks back to the road outlet.
Looking back up at the summit.
The conditions weren't ideal by any means, but we got a taste of The Thunderbolt and will definitely be back for more when there is enough snow to cover all the logs, rocks, and stumps.

Back at the car, packing up.

1 comment:

  1. Better coverage than I would have thought. Thanks for the conditions update.