|Mt Tom, looking NE towards the Oxbow lake and CT River.|
Mt Tom is probably the most popular destination along the M-M Trail, with lots of dramatic views, and much has been written about it. The initial ascent is moderate but relentless, climbing 600 ft in less than half a mile, but once you're at the top, the rest of the hike is much easier as you walk along the top of the cliffs for about the next mile. The trail then descends to a notch with a paved park road (and a drinking fountain in season), then continues on to the Goat Peak tower with the best views of the entire New England Trail so far. After that is a recommended detour to the Eyrie ruins overlooking the Oxbow, and then an easy descent to the boat ramp on the Oxbow.
|Looking south along the Metacomet Ridge, with quarry dust at Section 3|
|Looking west through a notch in the cliffs|
|I admire the sentiment, if not the spray paint.|
This day, however, I had a hiking partner, so no one asked if I was lost. We had a great time poking about the ridgetop and taking a break for lunch towards the end of the cliff section. After this the trail drops down through the trees to a park road (Reservation Road), where we were able to refill our water bottles at a drinking fountain.
From there, it wasn't far to Goat's Peak, with a bench alongside the trail and a viewing tower a short ways up a path.
|Overlook near Goat's Peak.|
|The Goat's Peak tower is breathtaking.|
|Looking NE along the Holyoke Range.|
|Zoom view south including Hartford and some trap rock ridges|
(click photo to enlarge)
|Columbine foliage at the Eyrie ruins|
Something small was jumping in the water, catching the sun and making the water sparkle. We asked a fisherman pulling out his boat what it was, and were told it was shad jumping. You can see some of them in the photo below.
My husband was there to pick us up, and after some car shuttling, we headed to our hotel room for a long weekend. On the agenda was kayaking, more NET hiking, shopping, golfing, eating out, and the Big E in Springfield.