Like a fickle mistress, the Berkshire Range of western Massachusetts yields her treasures grudgingly, and then only to persistent suitors. Your best bet is to walk her length once, twice, even 10 times, using the AT to unlock her well-forested secrets. Then, on a misty morning somewhere between the pastoral environs of Mt. Washington and the wantonly green climb into Vermont, she'll step into your arms and make you understand what it means to love a place of humble beauty.
Contact: Appalachian Trail Conference, (304) 535-6331; www.atconf.org.
Mt. Greylock State Reservation
It's early spring, and Roaring Brook Trail is quiet but for its namesake creek. At the summit lie fog and choices. The trail north leads to Stony Ledge, where grouse burst from the underbrush. Or, head south to the Dynamite/AT loop, where bobcat or bear tracks may crisscross old bootprints. Take your pick; both options delight.
Contact: Mt. Greylock State Reservation, (413) 499-4262; www.state.ma.
-M. J. Morris
Mt. Washington State Forest
A traverse of this pocket wilderness takes you from the steep, ledgy schist of Jug End's summit, where the Taconic Range begins, across the rolling ridgeline of the lookout-spattered Riga Plateau. Pry your eyes from the 360-degree view and you'll notice heavy glacial scarring on the bare shoulders of Mt. Everett.
Contact: Mt. Washington State Forest, (413) 528-0330; www.state.ma.us/dem.
-M. J. Morris